Animal models of human systemic lupus erythematosus

David P. Huston, A. D. Steinberg

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a human autoimmune disease of unknown etiology. Clinical, serologic, immunologic, and pathologic findings are highly variable in different patients and at different times in the same patient. Murine and canine animal models of SLE have been found with clinicopathologic abnormalities resembling those observed in humans. Each animal model has unique characteristics; taken together they reflect the spectrum of disease in human SLE. Investigations in the animals have suggested that genetic, hormonal, immunologic, viral, and other environmental factors contribute to and modify the expression of disease. Where analogous studies are available for humans, the same factors have been found to modify disease expression in a similar fashion. Together, these studies have helped to clarify the multifactorial basis for SLE. The best characterized abnormalities are immunologic. These include excessive B cell function with the formation of large amounts of autoantibodies, and T-cell abnormalities which include defect in T cell regulatory function as well as certain T cell effector functions. The animal models of SLE also serve as convenient test subjects for newer therapeutic modalities. It is hoped that further study of the animal models will provide a more rational approach to therapeutic modulation of disease in humans with SLE.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-305
Number of pages17
JournalYale Journal of Biology and Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 1979

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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