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Autoimmune Diseases
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 834291, 15 pages
Review Article

Cutaneous Manifestations of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Faculdade de Medicina de Lisboa, Clinica Universitária de Dermatologia, Avenido Prof. Egas Moniz, 1649-035 Lisboa, Portugal

Received 4 May 2012; Accepted 4 June 2012

Academic Editor: Hiroshi Okamoto

Copyright © 2012 Luís Uva et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a multiorgan autoimmune disease of unknown etiology with many clinical manifestations. The skin is one of the target organs most variably affected by the disease. The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) established 11 criteria as a classificatory instrument to operationalise the definition of SLE in clinical trials. They were not intended to be used to diagnose individuals and do not do well in that capacity. Cutaneous lesions account for four of these 11 revised criteria of SLE. Skin lesions in patients with lupus may be specific or nonspecific. This paper covers the SLE-specific cutaneous changes: malar rash, discoid rash, photosensitivity, and oral mucosal lesions as well as SLE nonspecific skin manifestations, their pathophysiology, and management. A deeper thorough understanding of the cutaneous manifestations of SLE is essential for diagnosis, prognosis, and efficient management. Thus, dermatologists should cooperate with other specialties to provide optimal care of SLE patient.