Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a multifactorial autoimmune disease with highest prevalence among women of childbearing age. However, children younger than 16 years also can develop SLE (childhood-onset lupus/juvenile-type SLE). The aim of our study was to compare the clinical course of adult and pediatric-onset SLE. Data from 342 adult patients followed at the University of Debrecen, Hungary, and 79 children documented in the Hungarian National Pediatric SLE registry were analyzed using hospital medical records. Organ manifestations, laboratory parameters, and immunoserological characteristics were reviewed and the results were evaluated using SPSS for Windows software.Gender distribution was not significantly different between groups with disease starting in childhood vs adulthood. The prevalence of the following manifestations was significantly higher for pediatric than for adult-onset disease including: lupus nephritis (43% pediatric vs 26.4% for adult-onset), hematological disorders (57% vs 36.4%), photosensitivity (20% vs 9%), butterfly rash (61% vs 35.5%) and mucosal ulceration (11.4% vs 4%). For adult-onset SLE, neurological symptoms (30% vs 6%) and polyarthritis (86% vs 68%) occurred significantly more frequently than in children. Anti-SSA, anti-SSB and antiphospholipid antibodies were detected at significantly higher levels in adult-onset patients compared to those in pediatrics. Children were more commonly given high-dose intravenous immunoglobulin treatment (6.3% vs 0.6%) and mycophenolate mofetil (15.2% vs 5.3%) than adults.These results suggest that pediatric and adult-onset SLE differ in multiple aspects, and it is important to recognize these differences for optimal treatment and prognosis of these patients.
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