Examining gene expression in hair follicles may be sufficient to diagnose chronic discoid lupus erythematosus (CDLE), a kind of lupus in the scalp, avoiding invasive and expensive scalp biopsies, a study suggests.
When there is an excessive number or hyperactivation of immune cells, very high levels of proteins known as cytokines are released, resulting in a cytokine storm that causes severe and often irreversible tissue damage. This accounts for the crippling nature of many autoimmune disorders such as lupus.
Two variants of an autoimmune disease that affects thousands but is hard to diagnose are relatively common among black Africans, research shows.
The findings, relating to systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE, could improve diagnosis and treatment of the condition.
They could enable better management of the disease in patients of African descent, particularly in southern Africa, where incidence and mortality rates are relatively high.