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November 26, 1982

The Autoimmune Diseases

JAMA. 1982;248(20):2646-2657. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330200070016


Clinical Features  Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a multisystem disorder characterized by the presence of a variety of autoantibodies that are responsible for immunopathologically mediated tissue injury. It is the prototype for a group of disorders that are referred to as the systemic autoimmune or connective tissue diseases. Also included in this group are rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, polymyositis, mixed connective tissue disease, and Sjögren's syndrome. These disorders, due to their multisystem involvement, often present with overlapping clinical and laboratory features. Recently, advances in immunochemistry have aided greatly in our understanding of the role and specificity of autoantibodies in these various disorders. The characteristic antibody in SLE is directed against native DNA.Like many of the rheumatic disorders, SLE has high female-to-male predominance, in the range of 10:1. The peak onset of initial symptoms is from 15 to 25 years of age. The inheritance pattern appears to be