Hi! Welcome to Sharon's Lupus Page!
Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul.
deep, for every dream precedes the goal.
- - - - Ralph Vaull
The Anatomy Of Lupus
Hi there, I will try to be of some help if I can.
The answer to the
question I get most,
which is about imflamation and swelling,
is found in
the very cells of your body,
specifically the cells of your immune
I will start with a look at the healthy immune system
and how it
goes awry with lupus.
The immune system is the body's defense team so to
It's a network of cells that guard the body against
world of potential enemies, such
as bacteria, parasites, viruses,
The wonder to me
of the immune system is its ability
distinguish the "self" from the "nonself"--substances
belong to the body from those that
don't. Almost every cell in the body is
by a molecule that signals "self".
This includes cells from every
--the heart, lung, blood, tissues, et cetera.
immune system knows to leave
these marked cells alone.
But anything that
isn't a "self" molecule-carrying
member of the body catches the attention of
defense team and triggers and immune response.
The "nonself" proteins
that trigger an immune
response are known as antigens.
That word literally
means "against a species".
Stationed throughout the body are organs that
and nurture the varied members of the immune
system's defense team.
They are known as lymphoid organs,
The tonsils and
The lymph nodes
The bone marrow
The lymphatic vessels
all cells, the immune system's defense team
is born in the bone
Some of these cells grow up to become lymphocytes,
Immune cells then travel to the immune organs,
they wait for signals to launch
an attack against any
Also called lymph cells, lymphocytes are
white blood cells that carry out much of the
immune defense. There
are three types: B cells, T cells
and natural killer cells.
(I can go
into more detail about each one if you wish).
Phagocytes-These are large
white cells which,
true to their name, eat ("phago")
cells ("cytes") and
digest them. Or they trap
the antigen and hand it over to B cells or T
This group of cell-eaters includes monocytes,
(I can also go into more detail here if you
The COMPLEMENT system is a group
more than twenty proteins which in their
effort to control infection
contribute to inflammation.
The linking of antibody to antigen
a chain reaction of complement. At the end of this
chain is a
membrane attack complex--a kind of sword
that punctures the target antigen,
it to explode. In people with lupus, levels of
lower than normal, either because
of the high level of inflammation or
of a disease-related problem in producing it.
inflammation, complement signals
blood vessels to open up wider, ushering
in more blood--and defenses-to fight off
the antigen. This is what causes
the redness of inflammation
around an infected area. The
called to the batttle site by T cells, release
substances that help them digest immune complexes.
(While these substances
often help in defense,
they can also spill out into healthy tissue and
start mistakenly eating away at it, as though it were
Complement also makes the vessels leaky,
allowing white cells to pour into
tissue. This is what
causes the swelling and tenderness of
Once the offending antigen is under control,
call a halt to the immune reaction.
Ending the immune response is just as
important as starting it.
If the T cells don't signal an end to immune
the inflammatory process will continue uncontrolled.
this overzealous immune reaction
can cause direct harm to your body.
go into how this team works together
if you wish, just email me.
Lupus system, like the allergic immune system,
suffers from a serious case of
It mistakes the self for nonself. As a result,
the immune system
attacks the very being it's meant
to protect: the self. To put it another
the body acts as though it were suddenly allergic
to its own blood.
The body's own cells,
tissues and organs become the innocent targets
antibodies (or autoantibodies, because they are
directed against the
self.) Instead of attacking
alien substances, the misguided autoantibodies
healthy cells, cell components and tissue.
They react against the
of cells--the nuclei(core) of cells and
part of the
In people with Lupus, the immune system
on several other levels: the B cells are hypercharged
and the team
of suppressor T cells is understaffed.
As a result, not only does the immune
attack the wrong target (cells from its own body),
but the immune
response gets out of control.
Another major problem is that the
antibody-antigen complex, normally swept out
of the bloodstream my
cannot be removed. It lingers and
accumulates on tissues.
which ends in
In Lupus, these immune complexes cause
I can address the meds and treatment for Lupus
wants or needs that information, please email me.
I can also address the
Depression and coping with Lupus if you wish.
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