There are millions of people afflicted with Lupus throughout the world, from celebrities to everyday people and they often find it difficult to struggle through their everyday routines when a severe flare-up is on the horizon. Information intended to prepare and prevent these flare-ups would of course be tremendously valuable and some new research has shed light on one of the easiest techniques for doing so…a simple blood test!
Recent studies seem to indicate that a simple blood test could help predict lupus nephritis (LN) relapses. LN is a kidney problem that arises from complications associated with lupus. It was observed that the test could also evaluate disease activity in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
A study was published in the Arthritis Research & Therapy and it was titled, Plasma C4d as marker for lupus nephritis in systemic lupus erythematosus.
A marker protein called Cd4 in blood samples is what the test measures. Initially, the study compared the Vd4 blood levels in 98 lupus patients to the blood levels in 77 healthy individuals and it was discovered that higher levels were present in lupus patients. It was also noted that low disease activity and high disease activity is something that the Cd4testing could distinguish in about 68% of the cases.
This research compared the results of the Cd4 blood test to the modified Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index (mSLEDAI) scores to calculate their accuracy. The mSLEDAI is a study of the severity of lupus disease based on 24 unique items from clinical assessments and laboratory tests. This exhaustive scoring system is majorly used for drug testing and research purpose and not just the routine medical tests. 69 patients were subject to test on multiple occasions during a 5-year period to monitor fluctuations in the activity of disease and compare them with Cd4 test results.
In 62 patients, higher disease activity as well as higher C4d levels was observed. The other 7 patients had no difference in Cd4 level when activity was high or low. Lower levels of Cd4 were observed in 29 patients when disease activity was high. With this result, it could be said that the Cd4 testing was as accurate as the other pre-existing testing practices like the C3 and c4 test.
More so, lupus nephritis was predicted when high Cd4 levels overlapped with the existence of anti-dsDNA autoantibodies (an antibody test used to diagnose lupus). Cd4 tests were capable of predicting future LN flare-ups in lupus patients who already had LN in the past.
The researchers pointed out that the fact that the Cd4 could help predict the recurrence of flare-ups of kidney disease, it is a very important tool for test for patient management as well as ensuring adjustments in time to control kidney involvement.
“In summary, making use of our practical and robust assay in measuring C4d levels offers a novel technique of monitoring SLE activity that is at the very minimum, as efficient as the C3 and superior to C4 in pinpointing active disease and in a specific LN. That said, the C4d is more valuable than the C3 or C4 in its capability to predict the recurrence of renal flares, assisting clinicians and adapting treatment in time.
This is welcome news for lupus sufferers who are often plagued by the most severe symptoms during routine flare-ups. Being able to gauge the timing around these events can be of enormous benefit to those lupus nephritis sufferers who are striving to keep their symptoms from overtaking their routines.