Affiliation: Laboratory of Immunopathology Keizo Asami (LIKA), UFPE, Av. Moraes Rego, 1235, Recife/ Brazil CEP 50760-901.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is one of the most relevant world-wide autoimmune disorders. The formation of autoantibodies and the deposition of antibody-containing immune complexes in blood vessels throughout the body is the main pathogenic mechanism of SLE leading to heterogeneous clinical manifestations and target tissue damage. The complexity of etiology and pathogenesis in SLE, enclosing genetic and environmental factors, apparently is one of the greatest challenges for both researchers and clinicians. Strong indications for a genetic background in SLE come from studies in families as well as in monozygotic and dizygotic twins, discovering several SLE-associated loci and genes (e.g. IRF5, PTPN22, CTLA4, STAT4 and BANK1). As SLE has a complex genetic background, none of these genes is likely to be entirely responsible for triggering autoimmune response in SLE even if they disclosure a potentially novel molecular mechanisms in the pathogenesis' disease. The clinical manifestations and disease severity varies greatly among patients, thus several studies try to associate clinical heterogeneity and prognosis with specific genetic polymorphisms in SLE associated genes. The continue effort to describe new predisposing or modulating genes in SLE is justified by the limited knowledge about the pathogenesis, assorted clinical manifestation and the possible prevention strategies. In this review we describe newly discovered, as well as the most studied genes associated to SLE susceptibility, and relate them to clinical manifestations of the disease.