Scientists Pinpoint Enzyme Failure As A Cause Of Lupus

< ------------------------------------------------------------------------- (Following is advance for use after 5 p.m. EDT.) (Undated-AP) -- German scientists have the first direct evidence that a key enzyme's failure to mop up dying cells contributes to lupus. The study involved only mice. But researchers say the immune reactions are very similar to what occur in the potentially fatal disease in humans. In lupus, the body's defenses mistakenly attack proteins in healthy cells. Complications include arthritis, blood vessel inflammations and kidney failure. One of many suspected causes is a genetic mutation that disrupts the waste disposal mechanism in cells. Researchers created this condition in mice by turning off a gene that creates normal, healthy waste disposal. Up to three-quarters of the mice got symptoms similar to lupus. The study is in the journal Nature Genetics.