Progress in the pathogenesis and treatment of cardiac manifestations of neonatal lupus

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Abstract

Purpose of review

To provide new insights into pathogenesis, prevention and management of cardiac manifestations of neonatal lupus (cardiac neonatal lupus) and issues pertinent to all anti-SSA/Ro positive individuals of childbearing age.

Recent findings

Antibody specificity with high risk for cardiac neonatal lupus remains elusive, but high titers of Ro60, Ro52 or Ro52p200 antibodies appear to be required. Varying antibody specificities to the p200 region of Ro52 can induce first-degree block in a rodent model. In consideration of the contribution of macrophages to inflammation and fibrosis in cardiac neonatal lupus, hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is being considered as preventive therapy. Cord blood biomarkers support the association of fetal reactive inflammatory and fibrotic components with the development and morbidity of cardiac neonatal lupus. Data from U.S. and French registries do not provide evidence that the prompt use of fluorinated steroids in cases of isolated block significantly alters fetal/neonatal morbidity or mortality.

Summary

The search for a high-risk cardiac neonatal lupus antibody profile remains, but high-titer antibodies to Ro60 and R052 are a consistent finding, and this may guide the need for fetal echocardiographic surveillance. The uniform use of fluorinated steroids to prevent progression of cardiac neonatal lupus or reduce mortality does not appear justified. HCQ, based on diminishing an inflammatory component of cardiac neonatal lupus, is under consideration as a potential preventive approach.

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