A unifying expression signature for SLE

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is an inflammatory autoimmune condition characterised by a wide variety of symptoms including skin rashes, oral ulcers, glomerulonephritis, neurologic disorders, severe vasculitis and a distinct form of arthritis. Improving disease management and therapy is complicated by the heterologous nature of the disease and underlying dysregulation of multiple biological pathways. Thus, diagnosis, clinical management and disease stratification of SLE would benefit from a set of biomarkers common to all patients with SLE. To date, and despite numerous studies investigating signatures of SLE, the only unifying characteristics of SLE are aberrant immune activation and generalised loss of immune tolerance.

In a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation on 27 February 2020 (, the authors identified a 93-gene SLE MetaSignature from over 7000 transcriptomic profiles in 40 independent studies of gene expression. This SLE MetaSignature differentiates SLE patients from healthy volunteers, is distinct from other autoimmune conditions and is identifiable across a wide range of cells and tissues. A 33-gene subset of this signature was validated in a cohort of paediatric SLE patients and was found to accurately differentiate SLE patients from healthy controls and individuals with juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Interestingly, 14 genes were identified that were independent of IFN-induced and neutrophil-related pathways and which require further investigation to determine their relevance to SLE pathogenesis.

Synexa Life Sciences has deep expertise in developing biomarker strategies related to SLE and other autoimmune conditions. We have a comprehensive suite of flow cytometry, soluble biomarker and genetic assays to measure a multitude of relevant markers in a clinical setting. Additionally, we have a well-developed network of collaborating clinicians and clinical sites with access to samples from patients with SLE disease that allow for research or pre-clinical studies to support drug development in an in vitro setting. More info on our biomarker solutions can be found here.


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