Kathleen M. O’Neil, MD, University of Oklahoma College of Medicine

“Effect of Pubertal Hormone Changes on Systemic Lupus Erythematosus”

2011 Michael Jon Barlin Pediatric Lupus Research Program

This grant award is made possible through support of the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation in memory of Michael Jon Barlin.

The incidence of lupus increases greatly with the onset of puberty in both sexes. Hormones change in an orderly pattern and have effects on immune function during puberty, making the study of lupus in this period of life ideal to understand how hormones affect disease activity in lupus. Dr. O’Neil is studying 30 girls with pre-pubertal lupus, aged 8-13 years, to examine biological samples every three months for up to five years. These studies will allow for assessments of changes in gene expression and immune function as the girls progress through puberty in order to help determine the role of hormone changes associated with lupus flares in pre-pubertal children. These studies may help to identify hormones whose secretion or effects may be manipulated in order to help control lupus-related inflammation by treatments that are less toxic than conventional lupus therapies.

Video: Watch Dr. O'Neil speak about her research