Lupus Erythematosus



Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a multisystem autoimmune disease characterized by production of antibodies to various components of the cell nucleus and tissues, in conjunction with a variety of clinical manifestations.


  • Age: 20% of lupus begins in childhood, but it is very rare in <5 years old.
  • Female-to-male ratio: between 3 to 5:1 (prepubertal) and 9 to 10:1 (postpubertal)
  • SLE occurs about 3 times more often in African Americans than Caucasians. It is also more common in Hispanic, Asian, and Native Americans.


  • Peak incidence: between ages 15 and 40 years
  • Incidence in children is from 10 to 20 cases per 100,000 children per year.


5,000 to 10,000 children in the United States

Risk Factors


  • Increased frequency in 1st-degree family members of patients with SLE
  • 10% of patients have ≥1 affected relative.
  • Concordance rate of 25–50% in monozygotic twins and 5% in dizygotic twins
  • Some major histocompatibility complex antigens are associated with increased incidence of lupus, such as HLA-DR2 and DR3 in whites and DR2 and DR7 in blacks.


Lupus is an autoimmune disease, with multiple genetic, environmental, and hormonal factors playing a role.

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