In a 20-year study of more than 194,000 women, researchers found women with a history of depression have a 2-fold increased risk of developing SLE when compared to women with no history of depression. Systemic lupus erythematosus is a systemic autoimmune disease that occurs when your body’s immune system mistakenly attacks your healthy tissue and organs. Inflammation caused by SLE can affect your joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart and lungs. The Stem Cells Transplant Institute uses adult mesenchymal stem cells for the treatment of SLE.
For many years health care providers have thought depression may increase the risk of developing autoimmune disease but there has only been anecdotal evidence to support the hypothesis. The Nurses’ Health Study, and the Nurses’ Health Study II, are a series of epidemiological, prospective studies that examine the long-term effects of nutrition, hormones, environment and work-life on health and disease. These studies are some of the largest investigational studies into risk factors for chronic disease and have led to many key learnings on cancer, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and other serious chronic age-related diseases.
Epidemiologists evaluated data from The Nurses’ Health study (1996-2012) and the Nurses’ Health Study II (1993-2013). Both studies have included renowned medical institutions such as Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Beth Israel Medical Center. The analysis of 20-year data from 194,483 women between the ages of 28 and 93 showed 145 cases of SLE. After adjusting for criteria such as weight, cigarette smoking, oral contraceptive use etc., researchers found that women that received a clinical diagnosis of depression, regular antidepressant usage or a score of less than 60 on 5-item Mental Health Inventory were at significantly higher risk of developing lupus than women without a history of depression.
SLE is a chronic disease that can range from mild to life threatening. Normally the immune system produces antibodies which protect the body from foreign invaders such as; viruses, bacteria and germs. In lupus, the immune system malfunctions and is unable to distinguish between, these foreign invaders, and the body’s healthy tissue. The immune system sends autoantibodies to attack and destroy the healthy tissue. Approximately 10% of lupus patients will go on to develop the more severe systemic lupus erythematosus.
The symptoms of SLE will depend on what part of the body is being attacked. The most common symptoms include:
- Dry eyes
- Joint pain and swelling
- Skin lesions
- Raynaud’s disease
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
- Confusion and/or memory loss
The experts at the Stem Cells Transplant Institute use adult mesenchymal stem cells to treat SLE. Stem cells have been shown to modulate inflammatory disease by promoting the secretion of cytokines and anti-inflammatory markers that change the body’s environment from pro-inflammatory to anti-inflammatory. Additionally, stem cells have the ability to become any type of cell required by the body to replace or repair damaged tissue.
Researchers in China have evaluated the safety and efficacy of stem cell treatments in more than 200 patients diagnosed with SLE and unresponsive to standard treatments. Results showed 75% of patients responded to stem cell treatment with some patients experiencing a reduction in disease related symptoms for up to 2 years. In a 5 year follow up of 81 patients, 54% of patients continued to achieve complete or partial remission of the disease. After 6 years of treatment, stem cell therapy continued to be both safe and effective with no severe related adverse events.2-5
Researchers at the Stem Cells Transplant Institute in Costa Rica are working with other researchers across the world to better understand stem cell therapy all its potential. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with SLE and you are interested in learning more, contact us today at the Stem Cells Transplant Institute.
- Roberts AL, Kubzansky LD, Malspeis S, Feldman CH, Costenbader KH. Association of Depression With Risk of Incident Systemic Lupus Erythematosus in Women Assessed Across 2 Decades. JAMA Psychiatry.Published online September 12, 2018. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.2462
- Wang D, Li J, Zhang Y, Zhang M, Chen J, Li X, et al. Umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cell transplantation in active and refractory systemic lupus erythematosus: a multicenter clinical study. Arthritis Res Ther.2014;16:R79.
- Wang, D., Niu, L., Feng, X. et al. Long-term safety of umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells transplantation for systemic lupus erythematosus: a 6-year follow-up study Clin Exp Med (2017) 17: 333.
- Wang D, Sun L SAT0244 A long-term follow-up study of allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells transplantation in patients with drug-resistant systemic lupus erythematosus Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 2017;76:866.
- Cras et al. Update on mesenchymal stem cell-based therapy in lupus scleroderma. Arthritis Research & Therapy (2015) 17:301