SLE is a disease that mainly affects women of childbearing age, however, a total of 15–20% of cases present in children. Although adult onset SLE (aSLE) and childhood onset SLE (cSLE) share the same diagnostic criteria, differences have been identified. The aim of this study is to compare the similarities and differences in between cSLE and aSLE in an Arab population from Oman. We evaluated 225 SLE patients, 139 adults and 86 children, who fulfilled the criteria for diagnosis. At disease onset, 99% of SLE cohort fulfilled the SLICC criteria; however the ACR 1997 criteria were fulfilled in 66% aSLE and 80% cSLE. The clinical features of SLE in cSLE showed higher frequency of renal (50 vs 19%; p < 0.001), musculoskeletal (67 vs 53%; p = 0.036) and pulmonary involvement (13 vs 2.9%, p = 0.005); while aSLE showed higher frequency of hematological (64 vs 49%; p = 0.25) and mucocutaneous (24 vs 10%; p = 0.13) involvement. The mean disease activity score at disease onset and during disease course was also higher in cSLE (13 vs 8.5; p < 0.0005) (16 vs 11.8; p < 0.0005), respectively. Differences in autoantibody profile were also noted in cSLE with higher positivity of anti-dsDNA and antiphospholipid antibody (94 vs 84%; p = 0.027) (53 vs 37%; p = 0.25), respectively. cSLE patients were more likely than aSLE to be treated with immunosuppressant such as cyclophosphamide (51 vs 22%; p < 0.001) and MMF (70 vs 54%; p = 0.019). Similarities and differences between aSLE and cSLE in a cohort from Oman of Arab ethnicity were identified. It appears that individual races and ethnicities may exhibit differences in disease susceptibility and manifestations.
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