Platelets activated by self-antigens are involved in the pathology of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) by amplifying the inflammatory response, according to a study led by researchers from the University of Bordeaux, France (Duffau P et al. Sci Transl Med. 2010;2:47ra63). They also showed that a drug that inhibits platelet activation might be a useful approach in SLE.
The researchers found that platelets from patients experiencing flare-ups of SLE were abnormally activated compared with platelets from healthy individuals. The inappropriately activated platelets triggered an increase in levels of the protein CD154 that stimulated the production of interferons and caused inflammation in human and mouse cells.
Friedrich MJ. Platelets and Lupus. JAMA. 2010;304(17):1888. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1518