systemic lupus erythematosus

GC: n

S: (last access: 17 July 2015); (last access: 17 July 2015).

N: 1. systemic (adj): 1803, irregularly formed from system + -ic; used in medicine and biology for differentiation of meaning from systematic. Related: Systemically.
lupus (n): late 14c., used of several diseases that cause ulcerations of the skin, from Medieval Latin lupus, from Latin lupus “wolf”, apparently because it “devours” the affected part.
lupus erythematosus: New Latin, literally, erythematous lupus. First Known Use: 1860.
2. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a syndrome characterized by organ damage that results from the deposition of immune complexes. The immune complexes form when autoantibodies are made against the nucleic acids and protein constituents of the nucleus of cells. Such autoantibodies, called antinuclear antibodies, do not attack healthy cells, since the nucleus lies within the cell and is not accessible to antibodies. Antigen-antibody complexes form only after the nuclear contents of a cell are released into the bloodstream during the normal course of cell death or as a result of inflammation. The resultant immune complexes are deposited in tissues, causing injury. Certain organs are more commonly involved than others, including the kidneys, joints, skin, heart, and serous membranes around the lungs.
3. Cultural Interrelation:

  • Reality: Famous SLE sufferers include Michael Jackson (who also had vitiligo); the singers Seal, Elaine Paige, Toni Braxton and Lady Gaga (who has tested borderline positive for SLE but is currently asymptomatic) and Ferdinand Marcos, the former president of the Philippines who died of the complications of lupus.
  • Fiction: “It is Not Lupus”. This phrase originates from the FOX show House, also known as House, M.D. The series revolves around the unconventional and misanthropic genius, doctor Gregory House, working with younger doctors at the Princeton‑Plainsboro Teaching Hospital (PPTH) in New Jersey, in order to solve difficult health mysteries. The phrase was coined when the younger doctors were suggesting a case of lupus, when they couldn’t figure out what was wrong with the patient. Because lupus usually takes several years to be diagnosed, Dr. House usually says “It’s not lupus.” or “It’s never lupus.”. That was until the team actually ran into a case, where House had to admit there being an actual case of lupus.

S: 1. OED –; (last access: 17 July 2015); MW – (last access: 17 July 2015). 2. EncBrit – (last access. 17 July 2015). 3. (last access: 17 July 2015); (last access: 17 July 2015); (last access: 17 July 2015).


CR: alopecia, glomerulonephritis, lupus erythematosus, lupus vulgaris, primary sclerosing cholangitis.