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Highly Accessed Open Badges Editorial

HMGB1: a smoking gun in lupus nephritis?

David S Pisetsky

Author affiliations

Durham VA Medical Center, Box 151G, 508 Fulton Street, Durham, NC 27705, USA

Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA

Citation and License

Arthritis Research & Therapy 2012, 14:112  doi:10.1186/ar3754

See related research by Zickert et al.,

Published: 14 March 2012


High-mobility group box 1 protein (HMGB1) is a prototypic alarmin that is released from activated and dying cells. Because of its proinflammatory activities, HMGB1 could mediate key events in the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus, a possibility supported by elevations of HMGB1 in patient blood and increased expression in renal biopsies. The biology of HMGB1 is complicated, however, and its activity is dependent on redox state as well as binding to other molecules such as cytokines. Defining more precisely the role of HMGB1 in lupus will require treatment studies to block the activity of this alarmin in animal models and ultimately patients.