Painful Skin Nodules Are Rare Manifestation of SLE in Children

Panniculitis — a group of conditions that causes painful bumps to appear under the skin — is a rare manifestation of childhood-onset systemic lupus erythematosus (cSLE) that occurs mainly in the first three years of disease, and seems to be an indicator of less severe systemic lupus, a study found.

The study, “Panniculitis in childhood-onset systemic lupus erythematosus: a multicentric cohort study,” was published in Advances in Rheumatology.

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune condition that affects multiple organs and systems, including the skin. Panniculitis, which consists of tender nodules caused by inflammation in the fat layer beneath the skin, appears in 2% to 5% of SLE patients.

However, while many SLE children and adolescents have symptoms in the skin and mucus membranes, little is known about the incidence and clinical manifestations of this rare form of cutaneous lupus erythematosus, called lupus erythematosus panniculitis (LEP).

To address this gap, researchers in Brazil examined 847 cSLE patients treated across 10 pediatric rheumatology services in Sao Paulo. Of them, six had LEP, confirmed through the presence of nodules and/or plaques in adipose tissues under the skin and through microscopic tissue examination.

For the full study please click here.