Are lupus animal models useful for understanding and developing new therapies for human SLE?

Erica Moore, Chaim Putterman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Systemic lupus erythematosus is a systemic autoimmune disease driven by a complex combination of genetic, environmental, and other immunoregulatory factors. The development of targeted therapies is complicated by heterogeneous clinical manifestations, varying organ involvement, and toxicity. Despite advances in understanding the mechanisms contributing to SLE, only one biologic drug, belimumab, is FDA-approved. The identification and development of potential therapies have largely been driven by studies in lupus animal models. Therefore, direct comparison of both the therapeutic and immunological findings in human and murine SLE studies is critical and can reveal important insights into indeed how useful and relevant are murine studies in SLE drug development. Studies involving belimumab, mycophenolate mofetil, abatacept, rituximab, and anti-interferon strategies generally demonstrated analogous findings in the attenuation of SLE manifestations and modulation of select immune cell populations in human and murine SLE. While further basic and translational studies are needed to identify SLE patient subsets likely to respond to particular therapeutic modalities and in dissecting complex mechanisms, we believe that despite some inherent weaknesses SLE mouse models will continue to be integral in developing targeted SLE therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102490
JournalJournal of Autoimmunity
StatePublished - Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This review was supported by the Medical Scientist Training Program T32-GM00728 (Moore) and an R01 grant ( AR065594 ) from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases (Putterman).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Ltd


  • Autoimmunity
  • CyTOF
  • Murine SLE models
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus


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