Houston, Texas, USA : Hypertension drugs could prevent memory loss in lupus patients, a new study has found.
Scientists have discovered that the activation of brain cells called microglia likely contributes to the memory loss and other cognitive impairments suffered by many patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
The research resultts show that ACE inhibitors–a class of drugs commonly used to treat hypertension–can block this process in mice and might therefore be used to preserve the memory of lupus patients.
SLE is a complex autoimmune disease that arises when the body starts to make antibodies that target its own, healthy cells, often specifically recognizing DNA. Patients can suffer a wide variety of symptoms, but as many as 90% develop neuropsychiatric lupus, which is often characterized by cognitive impairments such as memory loss or confusion.
The Researchers from The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research published thier study September 5 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.
Betty Diamond and colleagues at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Manhasset, NY, previously found that lupus patients experiencing memory loss often produce antibodies–called DNRAbs–that recognize both DNA and a critical brain protein called the NMDA receptor, NMDAR. Antibodies are usually unable to enter the brain, but, after injury or infection, DNRAbs are thought to gain temporary access to the brain, where they can target neurons expressing NMDAR. This causes the neurons to die or lose the synapses that connect them to neighboring nerve cells, resulting in memory loss or other cognitive defects.
Diamond and colleagues suspected that brain cells called microglia might be responsible for trimming the connections between neurons after exposure to DNRAbs. These cells help clear away the debris of dead and dying neurons and can also remove excessive or unwanted synapses during brain development.
To address the role of microglia in SLE, Diamond and colleagues analyzed mice that produce DNRAbs capable of penetrating the brain and inducing memory loss. The researchers found that microglia are activated when DNRAbs enter the brain and that a protein called C1q attracts microglia to the synapses of neurons targeted by these antibodies. Deleting the C1q protein, or depleting the microglial cells themselves, prevented neurons from losing their synapses after exposure to DNRAbs.
ACE inhibitors such as captopril are a class of drugs used to treat high blood pressure. They are also known to block the activation of microglia. Diamond and colleagues found that captopril treatment protected neurons from DNRAbs and preserved the memory of mice producing these antibodies.
“Our study suggests that ACE inhibitors are a promising class of therapeutics that can easily move into clinical trials aimed at mitigating the cognitive dysfunction associated with neuropsychiatric lupus,” Diamond says.
About Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Autoimmune Disease
The Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Autoimmune Disease is a condition of a system immune destroys the organs and tissue. In normal condition, system immune is the key to control how the body works, including how the body reacts to dangerous things inside the body including cancer, tumor, bad bacterias and even parasites. However, when someone has lupus, the immune system attacks the healthy organs including heart, kidneys, blood cells, skin, lungs, joints and even the brain. Hence, lupus is strongly difficult to diagnose because each person has a different experience.
Symptoms of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Autoimmune Disease
Since lupus can attack any part of the body, so this is the reason why there are no alike cases. Some people develop mild, light or severe symptoms. The most common symptoms happen to the patient are:
- Feeling fatigue
- Stiffness, joint pain, and swelling
- Butterfly rash on the face. This appears around the cheeks and also the bridge of the nose
- If your skin get sunlight exposure, there will be skin lesions
- Raynaud’s phenomenon (a condition of having the white or blue color on toes and fingers when feeling cold and stressful)
- Chest pain
- Short breath
- Dry eys
- chest pain
- Memory loss, headache, and confusion
- Several Types of Lupus
Even though lupus is really difficult to differentiate, there are several types of lupus which are as follows:
SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus) which is mostly used to refer someone who is attacked in several parts of the body. This usually attacks people around 15-45 years.
DLE (Discoid Lupus Erythematosus) this is a chronic skin disease that often appears with a rash around the face. The patients also have thick and scaly skin which will re-occur after days.
SCLE (Subacute Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus), this is a condition of a body having ski lesions after getting exposed to sunrays.
DIL (Drug-Induced Lupus), this condition appears after certain medications with the similar symptoms like fever, chest pain, rash and also arthritis.
Neonatal Lupus, this condition is really rare which often happens to baby from a woman with SLE. Many experts believe that this condition occurs because of the autoantibodies of mother’s blood.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for this autoimmune disease except trying to balance the lifestyle and reduce the symptoms. The condition often occurs in certain conditions, especially when the patient is stressful and does the heavy activity. However, many doctors prescribe the following treatments:
Anti-inflammatory medications which are used for relieving the stiffness and joint pain
Cream for rashes for example steroid
Corticosteroids for reducing the immune response
Modified drugs that are targeted to balance the immune systems in certain cases
Lupus Risk Factors
Lupus usually happens to women. However, it is still possible for men to suffer this disease, but it is very rare. Also, the condition occurs in the ages 15-45. It is rare for the patients to be diagnosed with getting lupus in the elderly. Also, people who are in the race of Hispanics, African-Americans, and Asian-Americans are in higher risk of suffering lupus.