This proposal is to extend the Michigan Lupus Epidemiology &Surveillance (MILES) Program beyond the nearly completed public health surveillance phase to a research phase, by creating and maintaining the MILES Longitudinal Cohort &Biobank, which will include both lupus cases from the existing surveillance registry and population-based controls. The overarching goal will be to prospectively collect data and biospecimens that will allow for comprehensive investigations related to the clinical course of lupus, including risk factors for both the onset and progression of disease and its comorbidities. Detailed data collection for all participants will include a number of measures related to sociodemographics, health/wellness, physical functioning, environmental exposures, genetics, and for female participants, a number of items related to women's health. Lupus-specific measures, including disease activity indices, will be assessed for the SLE patients. The biobank will include serum, plasma, PBMCs, DNA (isolated both from unfractionated PBMCs and lymphocyte subsets), hair and toenail clippings. Vaginal swabs for female participants of reproductive age will be collected, allowing for HPV DNA profiling. Three distinct research modules related to lupus etiology and comorbidities are integrated, with the topics specifically dealing with epigenetics, HPV infection, and centrally-mediated pain. Biobank specimens will be stored in appropriate conditions to allow for genotyping and future investigation of biomarkers of both disease and exposure. An emphasis will be placed on providing the capability to perform contemporary immunoassays, including DNA methylation of relevant lymphocyte subsets. Lastly, this proposal will support the performance of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) genotyping using the ImmunoChip. The MILES Cohort will thus serve as a robust platform for ongoing and future research investigations that are relevant to the full spectrum of lupus and its complications.
Lupus is a serious and potentially fatal autoimmune condition, which disproportionately affects women and minorities. This population-based cohort and biobank will prospectively follow participants from the general population, with particular emphasis on inclusion of minorities and persons from underserved communities, in order to learn more about the disease and related health disparities.