This paper has met the requirements for Distinguished Honors.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus is a damaging autoimmune disease afflicting millions of people worldwide. Lupus is characterized by an overabundance of autoantibodies, proteins directing the immune system to destroy a person's own body, what it would normally be protecting. The molecular mechanisms, environmental influences, and genetic predispositions of Lupus are not yet fully understood. However, nine out of ten Lupus patients are women between the age of puberty and menopause, when estrogen levels are highest. The fact that women are significantly more prone to suffer from Lupus than men leads experts to believe that the sex hormone estrogen which is present at much higher concentrations in females may play a role in the initiation and progression of Lupus symptoms. This study uses a widely-accepted mouse model for Lupus and examines two important mechanisms of antigen processing and presentation: cathepsins and the presence of surface proteins on B cells involved in antigen presentation and costimulation.
Zuber, Matthew James, "Estrogenic Regulation of the Immune System in a Murine Model for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus" (2011). Biology Honors Papers. 31.
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