Michael R. Edwards, Rujuan Dai, Bettina Heid, Catharine Cowan, Stephen R. Werre, Thomas Cecere, and S. Ansar Ahmed published "Low-dose 17α-ethinyl estradiol (EE) exposure exacerbates lupus renal disease and modulates immune responses to TLR7/9 agonists in genetically autoimmune-prone mice" in Scientific Reports (Nature Research).

The study's findings — which have significant implications for those who are susceptible to autoimmune diseases or have concerns about environmental exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals — reveal that oral exposure of genetically lupus-prone mice to even a small dose of 17-a-ethynyl estradiol (a major component of oral contraceptive and estrogen replacement therapy) exacerbated kidney disease in lupus. These chemicals are found in the environment both in water and on land through sewage effluents and other sources.

First author Michael R. Edwards, a former NIH-T32 trainee who completed a Ph.D. in  the lab of Professor of Immunology S. Ansar Ahmed, will begin a radiology residency at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital in the fall. Thomas Cecere is an associate professor of anatomic pathology in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology.