Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that can affect the skin, joints, kidneys, lungs, nervous system and other organs of the body. The underlying causes of lupus are unknown, but it is usually more common in women of child-bearing age.
For this new study, a collaborative team of UC and Cincinnati Children's researchers wanted to compare lupus rates between people who were exposed to uranium and those who were not in an effort to explain the high number of lupus cases reported in a Cincinnati community.
Extensive review of medical records and serum antibody analysis to verify the cases, concluded that people who were exposed to higher levels of uranium, based on their living proximity to a former uranium ore processing plant, had lupus rates four times higher than the average population.
"Former studies have suggested that people with lupus may be more sensitive to radiation and that both genetics and environmental exposures play a role in disease development. Our study shows a strong correlation between uranium exposure, a radioactive substance, and an increased lupus rate that merits further investigation," says Pai-Yue Lu, MD, a pediatric rheumatology fellow at Cincinnati Children's and lead researcher for the study.
"With more research in this area, we may gain additional insight on the types of environmental factors that contribute to lupus development and the mechanisms by which they work," Lu adds. "There could be other effects of uranium and related exposures that could contribute to or help explain our findings."
Lu is presenting this finding and its potential implication at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Scientific Meeting Monday, Nov. 12, in Washington, D.C. She completed the project as part of her master's degree in clinical and translational science training at UC.
The Cincinnati-based team's research is based on nearly two decades of data collected through the Fernald Medical Monitoring Program, the United States' first and largest legally mandated comprehensive medical monitoring program. The program was established in 1990 after a federal investigation revealed that National Lead of Ohio's Feed Materials Production Center in the Hamilton County, Ohio, community of Fernald, was emitting dangerous levels of uranium dust and gases into the surrounding communities.
"The availability of this cohort and carefully collected data and biospecimens provides a great setting to ask research questions," says Susan Pinney, PhD, UC professor of environmental health and principal investigator of the Fernald study.
Almost 10,000 community residents enrolled in the Fernald Medical Monitoring Program. Community residents were classified into several exposure groups: high exposure, moderate exposure, low exposure and no exposure. (Uranium plant workers were not part of this study.)
"Typical U.S. incidence rates for lupus are 1.8 to 7.6 cases per 100,000. Among the 25 confirmed lupus cases we identified through the Fernald community cohort, 12 were in the high exposure group, eight with moderate exposure and five in the low exposure group," says Lu.
Research was supported by a pilot grant from a Center for Environmental Genetics, a National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences-funded program to support core facilities and technologies needed to conduct innovative research that focuses on how environmental agents interact with genetic and epigenetic factors to influence disease risk and outcome. Shuk-mei Ho, PhD, Jacob A. Schmidlapp Chair and Professor of Environmental Health, serves as principal investigator of the CEG grant.
Amanda Harper | EurekAlert!
GLUT5 fluorescent probe fingerprints cancer cells
20.04.2018 | Michigan Technological University
Scientists re-create brain neurons to study obesity and personalize treatment
20.04.2018 | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.
Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.
Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.
Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...
Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.
The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...
Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.
Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...
In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
09.04.2018 | Event News
20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
20.04.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research
20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy