Studying the link between iron deficiency and fatigue in lupus

Disease - Systemic lupus erythematosis

Lead applicant - Dr Chris Wincup

Organisation - University College London

Type of grant - Clinical Research Fellowship

Status of grant - Active

Amount of the original award - £165,816.23

Start date - 1 October 2018

Reference - 21992

Public Summary

What are the aims of this research?

Severe fatigue is a common symptom of lupus. However, there is currently no reliable treatment to help this. The researchers will investigate the potential link between a lack of iron and fatigue in people with lupus.

Why is this research important?

Iron is a mineral that is vital for the growth of healthy red blood cells, and mitochondria (structures found inside cells that make energy) also rely on iron to work properly. Previous research has suggested that high levels of inflammation can reduce the availability of iron, impacting on the function of the mitochondria. It is thought that this effect on energy production may account for fatigue symptoms.

This research study will recruit people with lupus to measure their levels of inflammation, how much iron is in their blood and how healthy their mitochondria are. This data will be compared between people with fatigue and without fatigue to see if a lack of iron plays an important role in this symptom.

How will the findings benefit patients?

Understanding the mechanisms involved in fatigue symptoms of people with lupus may lead to the development of new treatments. This could help people living with this condition manage this symptom better and restore a more normal lifestyle. This research also has potential to better understand fatigue resulting from other conditions.