Can Staph Bacteria Cause Lupus?

Staphylococcus Aureus is quite a common pathogen which has the potential to cause a wide array of pathologies both in community acquired as well as hospital settings.

Treatment for an infection caused by the Staph bacteria is quite a challenge for physicians due to the resistant nature of it to various antibiotics. The Staph bacterium is naturally found in the environment as well as in the body of normally healthy individuals. The bacterium is particularly present in the nasal area of a healthy individual [1].

Normally, Staph is not a cause of concern; however, if it enters the blood stream or the internal tissues of the body it can cause some serious damage. The transmission of Staph bacteria is in most cases direct but an individual can get infected through other modes of transmission of the bacteria as well.

Can Staph Bacteria Cause Lupus?

Can Staph Bacteria Cause Lupus?

A recent study that was done at the Mayo Clinic however shows that even minimal exposure to Staph may increase the risk of the individual developing lupus, which is a chronic inflammatory disease [1].

This study has been published in the Journal of Immunology. During the study, the researchers exposed mice to low doses of a protein that is generally seen in Staph bacteria and were surprised to see that the mice started to experience a pathological condition that was quite similar to lupus. The mice also developed kidney disease and had autoantibodies that are quite commonly seen in people with lupus [1].

The rheumatologist at the Mayo Clinic who was a part of the study now expresses that future course of action involves investigating patients with a known diagnosis of lupus and expose them to the protein and see if the effect is similar to that seen in mice model. This article highlights in more detail as to how Staph can cause the inflammatory condition called lupus [1].

How Does Staph Bacteria Cause Lupus?

The researchers opine that the protein that was used in the mouse model to establish a link between Staph and lupus may be a vital clue as far as understanding the causes of exacerbations in people who are genetically predisposed to lupus. They hope that with further investigations they may come up with a solution which may help in preventing lupus flares in the future [1].

Coming to lupus, as stated, it is a chronic inflammatory disorder in which the cells of the immune system attack the tissue and joints of the body. This basically suggests that no specific area of the body can be considered safe from lupus. It is quite a challenging condition to diagnose since its symptoms are quite similar to other medical conditions. This condition is seen mostly in females and there is no cure for it. The treatment for lupus is aimed at controlling the symptoms whenever a flare occurs [1].

It is the African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asian people between the age of 15 and 40 that get affected by lupus the most. The question that is now being asked is whether treating people who are at risk for developing lupus by eliminating the Staph may prevent this condition from developing. What exactly causes lupus is something that is still not known to physicians. However, physicians believe that people who are genetically predisposed to this condition most likely develop it sometime later in life [1].

There are also certain external factors like infections or medications that may cause lupus. As there is no known cause identified for lupus, this finding of a protein from staph causing lupus is extremely vital in further understanding the etiology of lupus. There have been various studies that have proved that staph bacteria is responsible for causing a variety of medical conditions like psoriasis, polyangiitis, Kawasaki disease, and granulomatosis [1].

Thus, based on the results of the study conducted on mouse model where a protein found in staph bacteria led to the development of lupus, it can be said that exposure to staph may be responsible for development of lupus. However, further research needs to be done in order to establish this finding in humans and prove this link between staph bacteria and lupus [1].

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