1. Health
Send to a Friend via Email

Who Discovered Lupus? What Does Lupus History Mean For Me?


Updated June 18, 2014

Question: Who Discovered Lupus? What Does Lupus History Mean For Me?

That’s a tale better told in longer form, but here’s the skinny.

The history of lupus is divided into three periods:

  • Classical -- This period was marked by the first description of the cutaneous disorder; it is also when the term "lupus" was coined. Thirteenth Century physician Rogerius thought that facial lesions caused by the disease looked like wolf bites, hence the name, which means wolf in Latin.

  • Neoclassical -- This period began in 1872. It is marked by the description of the disease’s systemic or disseminated manifestations, made by Moriz Kaposi, a student and son-in-law of the Austrian dermatologist Ferdinand von Hebra. Kaposi even made the claim that there were two forms of the disease -- what we know as systemic lupus erthematosus and discoid lupus. The systemic form was firmly established by doctors Osler and Jadassohn, respectively.

  • Modern -- This period was marked by the discovery of the LE cell in 1948, when researchers discovered these cells in the bone marrow of patients with acute disseminated lupus erythematosus.

What This Means for Today's Lupus Patients

This progression of discovery paved the way for the application of immunology to the study of lupus. Today's treatments are founded on these findings.


History of Lupus. Lupus Foundation of America. June 2008.

  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Lupus
  4. Living with Lupus
  5. FAQs
  6. Lupus: Overview and History of Discovery

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.