Cytokines play the active roles in the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and contribute significantly to the immune imbalance in this disease. Conservative therapeutic approaches, such as dietary modifications have been shown to have some beneficial impact on the disease activity of the SLE. Over the past years, accumulating evidences have supported a major role for specific dietary factors, including calorie restriction, n-3/n-6 fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, phytoestrogens or herbal medicine in the regulation of cytokines involved in SLE development. Although there are many reviews that discuss the issue of nutrition and immunity, there are relatively few articles that focus on the regulation of cytokines by dietary factors. This concise review will summarize those animal studies that investigated not only the outcome of autoantibody production and proteinuria, but also cytokines production. However, the field of dietary factors in the immunomodulation of SLE is still in its infancy. More clinical studies are needed to confirm the preliminary results and advance the knowledge in this field. Lifestyle modification and adjustments in diet are important and encouraged to be suggested as an adjuvant therapy for SLE.
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