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Christian Lood, PhD

Research Assistant Professor
University of Washington

Impaired Mitochondrial Clearance in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

The energy our cells need comes from structures known as mitochondria that serve as power plants. Dr. Lood recently found that some immune cells throw out their mitochondria, which trigger inflammation and promote development of disease. In the current study he proposes to investigate how the body normally disposes of the released mitochondria so that they don’t cause inflammation and find out if those cleanup mechanisms don’t work well in lupus patients. Those results may provide new opportunities for developing lupus therapies, as well as identify novel biomarkers to monitor, and potentially predict, development of disease.


What this study means to people with lupus

Dr. Lood’s group discovered a new cause for the out-of control inflammation of lupus. Certain immune cells normally eject the mitochondria power plants that provide them with energy. The team is exploring a new treatment approach by examining whether people with lupus do not properly remove mitochondria, thus sparking inflammation. This highly novel project is likely to lead to new targets for therapy and new biomarkers for evaluating disease progression and response to treatment.


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