Experts suspect that having a genetic predisposition makes some people more likely to develop lupus than others. Notably, some families tend to have more members with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis Where scleroderma that others say Stuart D. Kaplan, MD, the chief of rheumatology at South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside, New York. People in these families also tend to have a higher risk of developing lupus, he says.
In some families, specific autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, may cluster together, depending on Stacy Ardoin, MD, rheumatologist at the Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University in Columbus. Plus, minorities, including African Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans and Hispanics, are also at higher risk, she says – “which may be linked to genetics, but this disparity is still largely unexplained “.
Research has shown that specific genetic abnormalities are linked to a higher likelihood of lupus, while other genetic abnormalities appear to reduce the risk, says Dr Ardoin. However, there is not a single gene that has been found to cause the disease and no genetic test to predict the risk of lupus or to confirm a diagnosis. âResearchers don’t yet understand how genetic abnormalities work together to increase risk, while other genetic changes reduce risk,â says Ardoin.
According to the Lupus Foundation of America, around 100 variations in the genetic code of our DNA have been linked to lupus. (1) And many of these genes are the ones that affect the function of the immune system, notes the National Library of Medicine. (2)
For example, certain variations of the TNFAIP3 gene appear to code for certain proteins to cause inflammation. And a review of data published in the February 2016 issue of Genetics of the HLA immune response found that TNFAIP3 was associated with systemic lupus erythematosus in Asians and Europeans. (3)
Additionally, certain genes have been linked to subsets of systemic lupus erythematosus – specifically, these genetic variants are linked to patients who develop nephritis or have stroke, notes Dr Kaplan.