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Lupus Heterogeneity Highlighted With Single-Cell Transcriptomes

A team at Central South University, the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, and other centers in China presents findings from a single-cell sequencing analysis of lupus, uncovering features that mark different forms of the autoimmune condition and distinguish it from healthy controls. As they report in Nature Communications, the investigators used 10X Genomics-based single-cell RNA sequencing to assess almost two dozen cutaneous skin lesion samples from eight individuals with discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE) and 10 systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients. Along with enhanced levels of T cell, B cell, and natural killer immune cells in the DLE samples relative to cutaneous lesions from those with SLE, they describe cell type expansions and cell communication shifts in both lupus types relative to the healthy control samples. "Our findings provide much information about DLE- and SLE-specific cellular and molecular signatures in cutaneous lesions compared to that of [healthy controls]," the authors report, "and we described in detail the similarities and differences in cell compositions between DLE and SLE, which will help understand the pathogenesis of DLE and SLE and develop novel and precise therapeutic targets for lupus erythematosus."