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1.  Role of STAT4 polymorphisms in systemic lupus erythematosus in a Japanese population: a case-control association study of the STAT1-STAT4 region 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2008;10(5):R113.
Recent studies identified STAT4 (signal transducers and activators of transcription-4) as a susceptibility gene for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). STAT1 is encoded adjacently to STAT4 on 2q32.2-q32.3, upregulated in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from SLE patients, and functionally relevant to SLE. This study was conducted to test whether STAT4 is associated with SLE in a Japanese population also, to identify the risk haplotype, and to examine the potential genetic contribution of STAT1. To accomplish these aims, we carried out a comprehensive association analysis of 52 tag single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) encompassing the STAT1-STAT4 region.
In the first screening, 52 tag SNPs were selected based on HapMap Phase II JPT (Japanese in Tokyo, Japan) data, and case-control association analysis was carried out on 105 Japanese female patients with SLE and 102 female controls. For associated SNPs, additional cases and controls were genotyped and association was analyzed using 308 SLE patients and 306 controls. Estimation of haplotype frequencies and an association study using the permutation test were performed with Haploview version 4.0 software. Population attributable risk percentage was estimated to compare the epidemiological significance of the risk genotype among populations.
In the first screening, rs7574865, rs11889341, and rs10168266 in STAT4 were most significantly associated (P < 0.01). Significant association was not observed for STAT1. Subsequent association studies of the three SNPs using 308 SLE patients and 306 controls confirmed a strong association of the rs7574865T allele (SLE patients: 46.3%, controls: 33.5%, P = 4.9 × 10-6, odds ratio 1.71) as well as TTT haplotype (rs10168266/rs11889341/rs7574865) (P = 1.5 × 10-6). The association was stronger in subgroups of SLE with nephritis and anti-double-stranded DNA antibodies. Population attributable risk percentage was estimated to be higher in the Japanese population (40.2%) than in Americans of European descent (19.5%).
The same STAT4 risk allele is associated with SLE in Caucasian and Japanese populations. Evidence for a role of STAT1 in genetic susceptibility to SLE was not detected. The contribution of STAT4 for the genetic background of SLE may be greater in the Japanese population than in Americans of European descent.
PMCID: PMC2592800  PMID: 18803832
2.  Evidence for STAT4 as a Common Autoimmune Gene: rs7574865 Is Associated with Colonic Crohn's Disease and Early Disease Onset 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(4):e10373.
Recent studies demonstrated an association of STAT4 variants with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), indicating that multiple autoimmune diseases share common susceptibility genes. We therefore investigated the influence of STAT4 variants on the susceptibility and phenotype of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) in a large patient and control cohort.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Genomic DNA from 2704 individuals of Caucasian origin including 857 patients with Crohn's disease (CD), 464 patients with ulcerative colitis (UC), and 1383 healthy, unrelated controls was analyzed for seven SNPs in the STAT4 gene (rs11889341, rs7574865, rs7568275, rs8179673, rs10181656, rs7582694, rs10174238). In addition, a detailed genotype-phenotype analysis was performed. Our analysis revealed an association of the STAT4 SNP rs7574865 with overall decreased susceptibility to CD (p = 0.047, OR 0.86 [95% CI 0.74–0.99]). However, compared to CD patients carrying the wild type genotype, the STAT4 SNP rs7574865 was significantly associated with early CD onset (p = 0.021) and colonic CD (p = 0.008; OR = 4.60, 95% CI 1.63–12.96). For two other STAT4 variants, there was a trend towards protection against CD susceptibility (rs7568275, p = 0.058, OR 0.86 [95% CI 0.74–1.00]; rs10174238, p = 0.057, OR 0.86 [95% CI 0.75–1.00]). In contrast, we did not observe any association with UC susceptibility. Evidence for weak gene-gene interaction of STAT4 with the IL23R SNP rs11209026 was lost after Bonferroni correction.
Our results identified the STAT4 SNP rs7574865 as a disease-modifying gene variant in colonic CD. However, in contrast to SLE and RA, the effect of rs7574865 on CD susceptibility is only weak.
PMCID: PMC2861592  PMID: 20454450
3.  STAT4 Gene Polymorphisms Are Associated with Susceptibility and ANA Status in Primary Biliary Cirrhosis 
Disease Markers  2014;2014:727393.
Recent genome-wide association studies suggest that genetic factors contribute to primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) susceptibility. Although several reports have demonstrated that the interleukin (IL) 12 signaling pathway is involved in PBC pathogenesis, its precise genetic factors have not been fully clarified. Here, we performed an association analysis between IL12A, IL12RB, and signal transducer and activator of transcription 4 (STAT4) genetic variations and susceptibility to PBC. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were genotyped in 395 PBC patients and 458 healthy subjects of Japanese ethnicity and evaluated for associations with PBC susceptibility, anti-nuclear antibody (ANA) status, and anti-mitochondrial antibody (AMA) status. We detected significant associations with PBC susceptibility for several STAT4 SNPs (rs10168266; P = 9.4 × 10−3, rs11889341; P = 1.2 × 10−3, rs7574865; P = 4.0 × 10−4, rs8179673; P = 2.0 × 10−4, and rs10181656; P = 4.2 × 10−5). Three risk alleles (rs7574865; P = 0.040, rs8179673; P = 0.032, and rs10181656; P = 0.031) were associated with ANA status, but not with AMA positivity. Our findings confirm that STAT4 is involved in PBC susceptibility and may play a role in ANA status in the Japanese population.
PMCID: PMC3932279  PMID: 24648611
4.  STAT4 and the Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
The New England journal of medicine  2007;357(10):977-986.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease with a substantial genetic component. Susceptibility to disease has been linked with a region on chromosome 2q.
We tested single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in and around 13 candidate genes within the previously linked chromosome 2q region for association with rheumatoid arthritis. We then performed fine mapping of the STAT1-STAT4 region in a total of 1620 case patients with established rheumatoid arthritis and 2635 controls, all from North America. Implicated SNPs were further tested in an independent case-control series of 1529 patients with early rheumatoid arthritis and 881 controls, all from Sweden, and in a total of 1039 case patients and 1248 controls from three series of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus.
A SNP haplotype in the third intron of STAT4 was associated with susceptibility to both rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus. The minor alleles of the haplotype-defining SNPs were present in 27% of chromosomes of patients with established rheumatoid arthritis, as compared with 22% of those of controls (for the SNP rs7574865, P = 2.81×10-7; odds ratio for having the risk allele in chromosomes of patients vs. those of controls, 1.32). The association was replicated in Swedish patients with recent-onset rheumatoid arthritis (P = 0.02) and matched controls. The haplotype marked by rs7574865 was strongly associated with lupus, being present on 31% of chromosomes of case patients and 22% of those of controls (P = 1.87×10-9; odds ratio for having the risk allele in chromosomes of patients vs. those of controls, 1.55). Homozygosity of the risk allele, as compared with absence of the allele, was associated with a more than doubled risk for lupus and a 60% increased risk for rheumatoid arthritis.
A haplotype of STAT4 is associated with increased risk for both rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus, suggesting a shared pathway for these illnesses.
PMCID: PMC2630215  PMID: 17804842
5.  Analysis of IL12B Gene Variants in Inflammatory Bowel Disease 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e34349.
IL12B encodes the p40 subunit of IL-12, which is also part of IL-23. Recent genome-wide association studies identified IL12B and IL23R as susceptibility genes for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). However, the phenotypic effects and potential gene-gene interactions of IL12B variants are largely unknown.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We analyzed IL12B gene variants regarding association with Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). Genomic DNA from 2196 individuals including 913 CD patients, 318 UC patients and 965 healthy, unrelated controls was analyzed for four SNPs in the IL12B gene region (rs3212227, rs17860508, rs10045431, rs6887695). Our analysis revealed an association of the IL12B SNP rs6887695 with susceptibility to IBD (p = 0.035; OR 1.15 [95% CI 1.01–1.31] including a trend for rs6887695 for association with CD (OR 1.41; [0.99–1.31], p = 0.066) and UC (OR 1.18 [0.97–1.43], p = 0.092). CD patients, who were homozygous C/C carriers of this SNP, had significantly more often non-stricturing, non-penetrating disease than carriers of the G allele (p = 6.8×10−5; OR = 2.84, 95% CI 1.66–4.84), while C/C homozygous UC patients had less often extensive colitis than G allele carriers (p = 0.029; OR = 0.36, 95% CI 0.14–0.92). In silico analysis predicted stronger binding of the minor C allele of rs6887695 to the transcription factor RORα which is involved in Th17 differentiation. Differences regarding the binding to the major and minor allele sequence of rs6887695 were also predicted for the transcription factors HSF1, HSF2, MZF1 and Oct-1. Epistasis analysis revealed weak epistasis of the IL12B SNP rs6887695 with several SNPs (rs11889341, rs7574865, rs7568275, rs8179673, rs10181656, rs7582694) in the STAT4 gene which encodes the major IL-12 downstream transcription factor STAT4 (p<0.05) but there was no epistasis between IL23R and IL12B variants.
The IL12B SNP rs6887695 modulates the susceptibility and the phenotype of IBD, although the effect on IBD susceptibilty is less pronounced than that of IL23R gene variants.
PMCID: PMC3316707  PMID: 22479607
6.  Peptidyl arginine deiminase type IV (PADI4) haplotypes interact with shared epitope regardless of anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibody or erosive joint status in rheumatoid arthritis: a case control study 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2010;12(3):R115.
Anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide autoantibodies (anti-CCP) are the most specific serologic marker for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Genetic polymorphisms in a citrullinating (or deiminating) enzyme, peptidyl arginine deiminase type IV (PADI4) have been reproducibly associated with RA susceptibility in several populations. We investigated whether PADI4 polymorphisms contribute to anti-CCP-negative as well as -positive RA, whether they influence disease severity (erosive joint status), and whether they interact with two major risk factors for RA, Human Leukocyte Antigen-DRB1 (HLA-DRB1) shared epitope (SE) alleles and smoking, depending on anti-CCP and erosive joint status.
All 2,317 unrelated Korean subjects including 1,313 patients with RA and 1,004 unaffected controls were genotyped for three nonsynonymous (padi4_89, padi4_90, and padi4_92) and one synonymous (padi4_104) single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in PADI4 and for HLA-DRB1 by direct DNA sequence analysis. Odds ratios (OR) were calculated by multivariate logistic regression. Interaction was evaluated by attributable proportions (AP), with 95% confidence intervals (CI).
A functional haplotype of the three fully correlated nonsynonymous SNPs in PADI4 was significantly associated with susceptibility to not only anti-CCP-positive (adjusted OR 1.73, 95% CI 1.34 to 2.23) but also -negative RA (adjusted OR 1.75, 95% CI 1.15 to 2.68). A strong association with both non-erosive (adjusted OR 1.62, 95% CI 1.29 to 2.05) and erosive RA (adjusted OR 1.62, 95% CI 1.14 to 2.31) was observed for PADI4 haplotype. Gene-gene interactions between the homozygous RA-risk PADI4 haplotype and SE alleles were significant in both anti-CCP-positive (AP 0.45, 95% CI 0.20 to 0.71) and -negative RA (AP 0.61, 95% CI 0.29 to 0.92). Theses interactions were also observed for both non-erosive (AP 0.48, 95% CI 0.25 to 0.72) and erosive RA (AP 0.46, 95% CI 0.14 to 0.78). In contrast, no interaction was observed between smoking and PADI4 polymorphisms.
A haplotype of nonsynonymous SNPs in PADI4 contributes to development of RA regardless of anti-CCP or erosive joint status. The homozygous PADI4 haplotype contribution is affected by gene-gene interactions with HLA-DRB1 SE alleles.
PMCID: PMC2911908  PMID: 20537173
7.  Association of common polymorphisms in known susceptibility genes with rheumatoid arthritis in a Slovak population using osteoarthritis patients as controls 
Both genetic and environmental factors contribute to rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a common and complex autoimmune disease. As well as the major susceptibility gene HLA-DRB1, recent genome-wide and candidate-gene studies reported additional evidence for association of single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers in the PTPN22, STAT4, OLIG3/TNFAIP3 and TRAF1/C5 loci with RA. This study was initiated to investigate the association between defined genetic markers and RA in a Slovak population. In contrast to recent studies, we included intensively-characterized osteoarthritis (OA) patients as controls.
We used material of 520 RA and 303 OA samples in a case-control setting. Six SNPs were genotyped using TaqMan assays. HLA-DRB1 alleles were determined by employing site-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification.
No statistically significant association of TRAF1/C5 SNPs rs3761847 and rs10818488 with RA was detected. However, we were able to replicate the association signals between RA and HLA-DRB1 alleles, STAT4 (rs7574865), PTPN22 (rs2476601) and OLIG3/TNFAIP3 (rs10499194 and rs6920220). The strongest signal was detected for HLA-DRB1*04 with an allelic P = 1.2*10-13 (OR = 2.92, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 2.18 – 3.91). Additionally, SNPs rs7574865STAT4 (P = 9.2*10-6; OR = 1.71, 95% CI = 1.35 – 2.18) and rs2476601PTPN22 (P = 9.5*10-4; OR = 1.67, 95% CI = 1.23 – 2.26) were associated with susceptibility to RA, whereas after permutation testing OLIG3/TNFAIP3 SNPs rs10499194 and rs6920220 missed our criteria for significance (Pcorr = 0.114 and Pcorr = 0.180, respectively).
In our Slovak population, HLA-DRB1 alleles as well as SNPs in STAT4 and PTPN22 genes showed a strong association with RA.
PMCID: PMC2714116  PMID: 19445664
8.  FCRL3 promoter 169 CC homozygosity is associated with susceptibility to rheumatoid arthritis in Dutch Caucasians 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2006;66(6):803-806.
Human leucocyte antigen is the only genetic risk factor for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) that has been consistently observed in different populations. A number of other genes such as PTPN22 and PADI4 showed population‐specific association with RA susceptibility. Recently, Fc receptor‐like 3 (FCRL3) gene was found to be associated with RA susceptibility in Japanese, but with conflicting results in other populations.
To investigate the association of FCRL3 polymorphism with RA susceptibility and severity in Dutch Caucasian patients with RA, as well as to perform a meta‐analysis to reveal the contribution of this gene to RA susceptibility.
A total of 931 Dutch RA cases and 570 unrelated Dutch controls were genotyped for four FCRL3 single‐nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Genotyping was performed using the MassArray matrix‐assisted laser desorption ionisation‐time‐of‐flight mass spectrometry. Association of the FCRL3 SNPs with susceptibility to RA was examined by single‐marker, carrier and haplotype analysis.
Carrier analysis of the SNP (rs7528684) revealed the association of CC genotype with a higher risk of developing RA as compared with TT and TC carriers (p = 0.039 and OR = 1.31). There was no significant difference in the genotype and allele frequencies of all investigated SNPs between cases and controls. Meta‐analysis of all studies comparing 9467 individuals showed that the OR for the CC genotype to develop RA was 1.2 and the p value <0.001.
A promoter polymorphism of FCRL3 (rs7528684) is associated with an increased risk of developing RA in Dutch Caucasians, suggesting that this association is relevant for RA in both Japanese and Caucasian populations.
PMCID: PMC1954681  PMID: 17179172
9.  Association between STAT4 Gene Polymorphisms and Autoimmune Thyroid Diseases in a Chinese Population 
The STAT4 gene encodes a transcriptional factor that transmits signals induced by several key cytokines which play important roles in the development of autoimmune diseases. The aim of this study was to explore the association of STAT4 polymorphism with Graves’ disease (GD) and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (HT). A total of 1048 autoimmune thyroid diseases (AITDs) patients (693 with GD and 355 with HT) and 909 age- and gender-matched controls were examined. STAT4 polymorphisms (rs7574865/rs10181656/rs7572482) were genotyped by multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and ligase detection reaction (LDR). The results indicated that the frequencies of rs7574865 genotypes in patients with GD differed significantly from the controls (p = 0.028), the T allele frequency of GD patients was also significantly higher than the controls (p = 0.020). The genotypes of rs10181656 differed significantly in GD patients from controls (p = 0.012); G allele frequencies were significantly higher in AITD patients than the controls (p = 0.014 and 0.031, respectively). The frequencies of haplotype GC with GD and HT patients were significantly lower than their controls (p = 0.015 and 0.030, respectively). In contrast, the frequencies of haplotype TG with GD and HT patients were significantly higher than their controls (p = 0.016 and 0.048, respectively). These findings strongly suggest that STAT4 rs7574865/rs10181656 polymorphisms increase the risk of AITD in a Chinese population.
PMCID: PMC4139844  PMID: 25019342
STAT4; Graves’ disease; Hashimoto’s thyroiditis; single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)
10.  STAT4 rs7574865 G/T and PTPN22 rs2488457 G/C Polymorphisms Influence the Risk of Developing Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis in Han Chinese Patients 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(3):e0117389.
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is a common autoimmune disease characterized by environmental influences along with several predisposing genes in the pathogenesis. The protein tyrosine phosphatase nonreceptor 22 (PTPN22) and signal transducer and activator of transcription factor 4 (STAT4) have been recognized as susceptibility genes for numerous autoimmune diseases. Associations of STAT4 rs7574865 G/T and PTPN22 (rs2488457 G/C and rs2476601 C/T) polymorphisms with JIA have repeatedly been replicated in several Caucasian populations. The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of three polymorphisms mentioned above on the risk of developing JIA in Han Chinese patients. Genotyping was performed on a total of 137 Chinese patients with JIA (JIA group) and 150 sex and age frequency-matched healthy volunteers (Control group). The single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) were determined by using direct sequencing of PCR-amplified products. There were significant differences of PTPN22 rs2488457 G/C and STAT4 rs7574865 G/T polymorphisms between both groups. However, no significant difference was observed in distribution frequencies of PTPN22 rs2476601 polymorphism. The association with the PTPN22 rs2488457 G/C polymorphism remained significant in the stratifications by age at onset, ANA status, splenomegaly, lymphadenectasis and involvement joints. As with the STAT4 rs7574865 G/T polymorphisms, the enthesitis-related arthritis and presence of hepatomegaly had strong effect on the association. Our data strengthen STAT4 rs7574865 G/T and PTPN22 rs2488457 G/C polymorphisms as susceptibility factors for JIA.
PMCID: PMC4363145  PMID: 25781893
11.  Specificity of the STAT4 Genetic Association for Severe Disease Manifestations of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
PLoS Genetics  2008;4(5):e1000084.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a genetically complex disease with heterogeneous clinical manifestations. A polymorphism in the STAT4 gene has recently been established as a risk factor for SLE, but the relationship with specific SLE subphenotypes has not been studied. We studied 137 SNPs in the STAT4 region genotyped in 4 independent SLE case series (total n = 1398) and 2560 healthy controls, along with clinical data for the cases. Using conditional testing, we confirmed the most significant STAT4 haplotype for SLE risk. We then studied a SNP marking this haplotype for association with specific SLE subphenotypes, including autoantibody production, nephritis, arthritis, mucocutaneous manifestations, and age at diagnosis. To prevent possible type-I errors from population stratification, we reanalyzed the data using a subset of subjects determined to be most homogeneous based on principal components analysis of genome-wide data. We confirmed that four SNPs in very high LD (r2 = 0.94 to 0.99) were most strongly associated with SLE, and there was no compelling evidence for additional SLE risk loci in the STAT4 region. SNP rs7574865 marking this haplotype had a minor allele frequency (MAF) = 31.1% in SLE cases compared with 22.5% in controls (OR = 1.56, p = 10−16). This SNP was more strongly associated with SLE characterized by double-stranded DNA autoantibodies (MAF = 35.1%, OR = 1.86, p<10−19), nephritis (MAF = 34.3%, OR = 1.80, p<10−11), and age at diagnosis<30 years (MAF = 33.8%, OR = 1.77, p<10−13). An association with severe nephritis was even more striking (MAF = 39.2%, OR = 2.35, p<10−4 in the homogeneous subset of subjects). In contrast, STAT4 was less strongly associated with oral ulcers, a manifestation associated with milder disease. We conclude that this common polymorphism of STAT4 contributes to the phenotypic heterogeneity of SLE, predisposing specifically to more severe disease.
Author Summary
Systemic lupus erythematosus is a chronic disabling autoimmune disease, most commonly striking women in their thirties or forties. It can cause a wide variety of clinical manifestations, including kidney disease, arthritis, and skin disorders. Prognosis varies greatly depending on these clinical features, with kidney disease and related characteristics leading to greater morbidity and mortality. It is also complex genetically; while lupus runs in families, genes increase one’s risk for lupus but do not fully determine the outcome. It is thought that the interactions of multiple genes and/or interactions between genes and environmental factors may cause lupus, but the causes and disease pathways of this very heterogeneous disease are not well understood. By examining relationships between subtypes of lupus and specific genes, we hope to better understand how lupus is triggered and by what biological pathways it progresses. We show in this work that the STAT4 gene, very recently identified as a lupus risk gene, predisposes specifically to severe manifestations of lupus, including kidney disease.
PMCID: PMC2377340  PMID: 18516230
12.  The TT Genotype of the STAT4 rs7574865 Polymorphism Is Associated with High Disease Activity and Disability in Patients with Early Arthritis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e43661.
The number of copies of the HLA-DRB1 shared epitope, and the minor alleles of the STAT4 rs7574865 and the PTPN22 rs2476601 polymorphisms have all been linked with an increased risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. In the present study, we investigated the effects of these genetic variants on disease activity and disability in patients with early arthritis.
Methodology and Results
We studied 640 patients with early arthritis (76% women; median age, 52 years), recording disease-related variables every 6 months during a 2-year follow-up. HLA-DRB1 alleles were determined by PCR-SSO, while rs7574865 and rs2476601 were genotyped with the Taqman 5′ allelic discrimination assay. Multivariate analysis was performed using generalized estimating equations for repeated measures. After adjusting for confounding variables such as gender, age and ACPA, the TT genotype of rs7574865 in STAT4 was associated with increased disease activity (DAS28) as compared with the GG genotype (β coefficient [95% confidence interval] = 0.42 [0.01–0.83], p = 0.044). Conversely, the presence of the T allele of rs2476601 in PTPN22 was associated with diminished disease activity during follow-up in a dose-dependent manner (CT genotype = −0.27 [−0.56– −0.01], p = 0.042; TT genotype = −0.68 [−1.64– −0.27], p = 0.162). After adjustment for gender, age and disease activity, homozygosity for the T allele of rs7574865 in STAT4 was associated with greater disability as compared with the GG genotype.
Our data suggest that patients with early arthritis who are homozygous for the T allele of rs7574865 in STAT4 may develop a more severe form of the disease with increased disease activity and disability.
PMCID: PMC3427144  PMID: 22937072
13.  Evaluation of LOXL1 gene polymorphisms in exfoliation syndrome and exfoliation glaucoma 
Molecular Vision  2008;14:533-541.
To evaluate genetic susceptibility of lysyl oxidase-like 1 (LOXL1) gene polymorphisms to exfoliation syndrome (XFS) and exfoliation glaucoma (XFG) in a case-control cohort of American and European patients.
DNA from a total of 620 individuals including 287 exfoliation patients and 333 healthy control subjects were extracted by standard methods. Three single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of rs1048661 (R141L), rs3825942 (G153D), and rs2165241 were genotyped in these individuals by SNaPshot Assay. The seven coding exons of the LOXL1 gene and their immediate flanking regions were directly sequenced in 95 affected patients. Data management and case-control association studies were performed with SNP-STAT and PLINK programs. The obtained DNA sequences were evaluated with the STADEN package.
The 287 unrelated exfoliation cases comprised of 171 American patients (mostly of European background) and 116 patients from 12 European countries. This phenotype was further divided into patients with exfoliation only and no glaucoma (XFO; n=95), exfoliation with glaucoma (XFG; n=133), and exfoliation unclassified (XFU; n=59). Genotypic data were analyzed separately for XFO, XFG, XFU, and XFS (all exfoliations; n=287) and for Americans and Europeans. The observed genotypic frequencies for each exfoliation phenotype or population were tabulated separately and tested for deviation from the Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium (HWE) using a standard Χ2 test. There were no HWE deviations and no significant genotypic differences between these subcategories for the three studied SNPs. For the combined exfoliation cohort, homozygote genotypes of G/G (rs1048661), G/G (rs3825942), and T/T (rs2165241) were significantly overrepresented. Likewise, case-control allelic association for rs1048661 (p=7.74x10−9), rs3825942 (p=3.10x10−17), and rs2165241 (p=4.85x10−24) were highly significant. The corresponding two-locus haplotype frequencies of GG for rs1048661-rs3825942 (p=1.47x10−27), GT for rs1048661-rs2165241 (p=1.29x10−24), and GT for rs3825942-rs2165241 (p=2.02x10−24) were highly associated with exfoliation phenotypes. The combined effect of these three SNPs revealed that the GGT haplotype is overrepresented by 66% in exfoliation cases, and this deviation from controls is highly significant (p=1.93x10−24). This haplotype constituted a major risk factor for development of exfoliation in both XFS and XFG. By contrast, the GAC haplotype was significantly underrepresented (p=4.99x10−18) in exfoliation cases by 83% and may potentially have a protective effect for this condition with an estimated attributable risk percent reduction of 457%. The only other haplotype that was significantly different between cases and controls was TGC (p=5.82x10−9). No observation was made for the GAT haplotype. The combined three haplotypes of GGT, GAC, and TGC were associated with 91% of the exfoliation syndrome cases in the studied populations. Seven coding exons of LOXL1 were also sequenced in 95 affected cases. In addition to the three above-mentioned SNPs, 12 other variations were also observed in these patients (G240G, D292D, A320A, V385V, rs2304719, IVS3+23C>T, IVS3–155G>A, IVS3–101G>A, IVS4+49G>A, rs2304721, IVS5–121C>T, and rs2304722). None were considered a disease-causing mutation.
We confirmed a strong association with LOXL1 variants in our patients. For the LOXL1 gene, individual alleles of rs1048661 (G), rs3825942 (G), and rs2165241 (T) are highly associated with XFS and XFG in American and European populations. The GGT haplotype constitutes a major risk haplotype for exfoliation, and GAC may have a protective role. DNA sequencing of 95 affected patients did not show any mutations in this gene. The LOXL1 SNPs are located in the 15q24.1 band and within a genetic locus (GLC1N) that is associated with primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG). However, the LOXL1 genetic predisposition is only limited to exfoliation with or without glaucoma and does not include the POAG phenotype.
PMCID: PMC2268854  PMID: 18385788
14.  STAT4 Associates with SLE Through Two Independent Effects that Correlate with Gene Expression and Act Additively with IRF5 to Increase Risk 
Annals of the rheumatic diseases  2008;68(11):10.1136/ard.2008.097642.
To confirm and define the genetic association of STAT4 and systemic lupus erythematosus, investigate the possibility of correlations with differential splicing and/or expression levels, and genetic interaction with IRF5.
30 tag SNPs were genotyped in an independent set of Spanish cases and controls. SNPs surviving correction for multiple tests were genotyped in 5 new sets of cases and controls for replication. STAT4 cDNA was analyzed by 5’-RACE PCR and sequencing. Expression levels were measured by quantitative PCR.
In the fine-mapping, four SNPs were significant after correction for multiple testing, with rs3821236 and rs3024866 as the strongest signals, followed by the previously associated rs7574865, and by rs1467199. Association was replicated in all cohorts. After conditional regression analyses, two major independent signals represented by SNPs rs3821236 and rs7574865, remained significant across the sets. These SNPs belong to separate haplotype blocks. High levels of STAT4 expression correlated with SNPs rs3821236, rs3024866 (both in the same haplotype block) and rs7574865 but not with other SNPs. We also detected transcription of alternative tissue-specific exons 1, indicating presence of tissue-specific promoters of potential importance in the expression of STAT4. No interaction with associated SNPs of IRF5 was observed using regression analysis.
These data confirm STAT4 as a susceptibility gene for SLE and suggest the presence of at least two functional variants affecting levels of STAT4. Our results also indicate that both genes STAT4 and IRF5 act additively to increase risk for SLE.
PMCID: PMC3878433  PMID: 19019891
Association studies; systemic lupus erythematosus; STAT4 transcription factor; Interferon regulatory factor; genetic predisposition to disease
Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is an immune-mediated and complex genetic disease. An association of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the STAT4 gene with SSc has been reported in European Caucasians, North Americans and Japanese. We undertook the current study to examine whether the STAT4 SNPs are also associated with susceptibility to SSc and SSc subsets in a Han Chinese population. A total of 453 Han Chinese patients with SSc and 534 healthy controls were examined in the study. The SNPs rs7574865, rs10168266 and rs3821236 of the STAT4 gene were examined with SNP TaqMan assays. The T-allele carriers of rs7574865 and rs10168266 were strongly associated with the presence of anti-topoisomerase I (ATA) and pulmonary fibrosis in SSc patients, as well as with diffuse cutaneous SSc (dcSSc). The presence of anti-centromere (ACA) and limited cutaneous SSc (lcSSc) did not show significant association with any of the examined SNPs. The results were consistent with previous reports in other ethnic populations in supporting the notion that polymorphisms of STAT4 may play an important role in susceptibility to SSc. It also revealed different genetic aspects of SSc subsets in a Han Chinese population.
PMCID: PMC4105920  PMID: 23755762
scleroderma systemic sclerosis; polymorphism; stat4; genetics; Chinese population
16.  Polymorphisms in peptidylarginine deiminase associate with rheumatoid arthritis in diverse Asian populations: evidence from MyEIRA study and meta-analysis 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2012;14(6):R250.
The majority of our knowledge regarding disease-related mechanisms of uncontrolled citrullination and anti-citrullinated protein antibody development in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) was investigated in Caucasian populations. However, peptidylarginine deiminase (PADI) type 4 gene polymorphisms are associated with RA in East Asian populations and weak or no association was found in Caucasian populations. This study explores the association between the PADI4 polymorphisms and RA risk in a multiethnic population residing in South East Asia with the goal of elucidating generalizability of association in non-Caucasian populations.
A total of 320 SNPs from the PADI locus (including PADI1, PADI2, PADI3, PADI4 and PADI6 genes) were genotyped in 1,238 RA cases and 1,571 control subjects from the Malaysian Epidemiological Investigation of Rheumatoid Arthritis (MyEIRA) case-control study. Additionally, we conducted meta-analysis of our data together with the previously published studies of RA from East Asian populations.
The overall odds ratio (ORoverall) for the PADI4 (rs2240340) allelic model was 1.11 (95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.00 to 1.23, P = 0.04) and for the genotypic model was 1.20 (95% CI = 1.01 to 1.44, P = 0.04). Haplotype analysis for four selected PADI4 SNPs revealed a significant association of one with susceptibility (P = 0.001) and of another with a protective effect (P = 0.02). The RA susceptibility was further confirmed when combined meta-analysis was performed using these data together with data from five previously published studies from Asia comprising 5,192 RA cases and 4,317 control subjects (ORoverall = 1.23 (95% CI = 1.16 to 1.31, Pheterogeneity = 0.08) and 1.31 (95% CI = 1.20 to 1.44, Pheterogeneity = 0.32) in allele and genotype-based models, respectively). In addition, we also detected a novel association of PADI2 genetic variant rs1005753 with RA (ORoverall = 0.87 (95% CI = 0.77 to 0.99)).
Our study demonstrates an association between PADI4 and RA in the multiethnic population from South East Asia and suggests additional association with a PADI2 gene. The study thus provides further support for the notion that polymorphisms in genes for enzymes responsible for citrullination contribute to RA development in multiple populations of Asian descent.
PMCID: PMC3674620  PMID: 23164236
17.  Association of STAT4 Polymorphisms with Susceptibility to Type-1 Autoimmune Hepatitis in the Japanese Population 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e71382.
Recent studies demonstrated an association of STAT4 polymorphisms with autoimmune diseases including systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis, indicating multiple autoimmune diseases share common susceptibility genes. We therefore investigated the influence of STAT4 polymorphisms on the susceptibility and phenotype of type-1 autoimmune hepatitis in a Japanese National Hospital Organization (NHO) AIH multicenter cohort study.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Genomic DNA from 460 individuals of Japanese origin including 230 patients with type-1 autoimmune hepatitis and 230 healthy controls was analyzed for two single nucleotide polymorphisms in the STAT4 gene (rs7574865, rs7582694). The STAT4 rs7574865T allele conferred risk for type-1 autoimmune hepatitis (OR = 1.61, 95% CI = 1.23–2.11; P = 0.001), and patients without accompanying autoimmune diseases exhibited an association with the rs7574865T allele (OR = 1.50, 95%CI = 1.13–1.99; P = 0.005). Detailed genotype-phenotype analysis of type-1 autoimmune hepatitis patients with (n = 44) or without liver cirrhosis (n = 186) demonstrated that rs7574865 was not associated with the development of liver cirrhosis and phenotype (biochemical data and the presence of auto-antibodies).
This is the first study to show a positive association between a STAT4 polymorphism and type-1 autoimmune hepatitis, suggesting that autoimmune hepatitis shares a gene commonly associated with risk for other autoimmune diseases.
PMCID: PMC3750035  PMID: 23990947
18.  A risk haplotype of STAT4 for systemic lupus erythematosus is over-expressed, correlates with anti-dsDNA and shows additive effects with two risk alleles of IRF5 
Human Molecular Genetics  2008;17(18):2868-2876.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is the prototype autoimmune disease where genes regulated by type I interferon (IFN) are over-expressed and contribute to the disease pathogenesis. Because signal transducer and activator of transcription 4 (STAT4) plays a key role in the type I IFN receptor signaling, we performed a candidate gene study of a comprehensive set of single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) in STAT4 in Swedish patients with SLE. We found that 10 out of 53 analyzed SNPs in STAT4 were associated with SLE, with the strongest signal of association (P = 7.1 × 10−8) for two perfectly linked SNPs rs10181656 and rs7582694. The risk alleles of these 10 SNPs form a common risk haplotype for SLE (P = 1.7 × 10−5). According to conditional logistic regression analysis the SNP rs10181656 or rs7582694 accounts for all of the observed association signal. By quantitative analysis of the allelic expression of STAT4 we found that the risk allele of STAT4 was over-expressed in primary human cells of mesenchymal origin, but not in B-cells, and that the risk allele of STAT4 was over-expressed (P = 8.4 × 10−5) in cells carrying the risk haplotype for SLE compared with cells with a non-risk haplotype. The risk allele of the SNP rs7582694 in STAT4 correlated to production of anti-dsDNA (double-stranded DNA) antibodies and displayed a multiplicatively increased, 1.82-fold risk of SLE with two independent risk alleles of the IRF5 (interferon regulatory factor 5) gene.
PMCID: PMC2525501  PMID: 18579578
19.  A Large-Scale Rheumatoid Arthritis Genetic Study Identifies Association at Chromosome 9q33.2 
PLoS Genetics  2008;4(6):e1000107.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, systemic autoimmune disease affecting both joints and extra-articular tissues. Although some genetic risk factors for RA are well-established, most notably HLA-DRB1 and PTPN22, these markers do not fully account for the observed heritability. To identify additional susceptibility loci, we carried out a multi-tiered, case-control association study, genotyping 25,966 putative functional SNPs in 475 white North American RA patients and 475 matched controls. Significant markers were genotyped in two additional, independent, white case-control sample sets (661 cases/1322 controls from North America and 596 cases/705 controls from The Netherlands) identifying a SNP, rs1953126, on chromosome 9q33.2 that was significantly associated with RA (ORcommon = 1.28, trend Pcomb = 1.45E-06). Through a comprehensive fine-scale-mapping SNP-selection procedure, 137 additional SNPs in a 668 kb region from MEGF9 to STOM on 9q33.2 were chosen for follow-up genotyping in a staged-approach. Significant single marker results (Pcomb<0.01) spanned a large 525 kb region from FBXW2 to GSN. However, a variety of analyses identified SNPs in a 70 kb region extending from the third intron of PHF19 across TRAF1 into the TRAF1-C5 intergenic region, but excluding the C5 coding region, as the most interesting (trend Pcomb: 1.45E-06 → 5.41E-09). The observed association patterns for these SNPs had heightened statistical significance and a higher degree of consistency across sample sets. In addition, the allele frequencies for these SNPs displayed reduced variability between control groups when compared to other SNPs. Lastly, in combination with the other two known genetic risk factors, HLA-DRB1 and PTPN22, the variants reported here generate more than a 45-fold RA-risk differential.
Author Summary
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a chronic autoimmune disorder affecting ∼1% of the population, is characterized by immune-cell–mediated destruction of the joint architecture. Gene–environment interactions are thought to underlie RA etiology. Variants within HLA-DRB1 and the hematopoietic-specific phosphatase, PTPN22, are well established RA-susceptibility loci, and although other markers have been identified, they do not fully account for the disease heritability. To identify additional susceptibility alleles, we carried out a multi-tiered, case-control association study genotyping >25,000 putative functional SNPs; here we report our finding of RA-associated variants in chromosome 9q33.2. A detailed genetic analysis of this region, incorporating HapMap information, localizes the RA-susceptibility effects to a 70 kb region that includes a portion of PHF19, all of TRAF1, and the majority of the TRAF1-C5 intergenic region, but excludes the C5 coding region. In addition to providing new insights into underlying mechanism(s) of disease and suggesting novel therapeutic targets, these data provide the underpinnings of a genetic signature that may predict individuals at increased risk for developing RA. Indeed, initial analyses of three known genetic risk factors, HLA, PTPN22, and the chromosome 9q33.2 variants described here, suggest a >45-fold difference in RA risk depending on an individual's three-locus genotype.
PMCID: PMC2481282  PMID: 18648537
20.  A family based study shows no association between rheumatoid arthritis and the PADI4 gene in a white French population 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2004;64(4):587-593.
Background: Autoantibodies to citrullinated proteins (ACPA) are considered a specific marker for rheumatoid arthritis. Peptidylarginine deiminase (PAD) is the enzyme that converts arginyl into citrullyl residues; different isoforms of the enzyme are expressed in mammals. It has been suggested that the PADI4 gene may contribute to genetic susceptibility to rheumatoid arthritis, but conflicting results have been obtained in different populations.
Objective: To test the hypothesis that the PADI4 gene may confer susceptibility to rheumatoid arthritis in a white French population, using powerful and highly reliable family based association tests.
Methods: DNA samples were analysed from 100 families where one member was affected by rheumatoid arthritis and both parents were available for sampling. Five single nucleotide polymorphisms, located within the PADI4 gene and in its close proximity, were genotyped by restriction fragment length polymorphism, and haplotypes were constructed. The analysis involved use of the transmission disequilibrium test and genotype relative risk. ACPA were detected by ELISA on cyclic citrullinated peptides and on human deiminated fibrinogen.
Results: No single SNP or haplotype was associated with the disease, or was preferentially transmitted. No association was found when patients were partitioned according to ACPA positivity.
Conclusions: No PADI4 haplotype is associated with rheumatoid arthritis in a white French population. The role of genes encoding the other PAD isoforms, or modulating tissue expression or enzyme activity, remains to be elucidated.
PMCID: PMC1755438  PMID: 15485997
21.  Variants in TNFAIP3, STAT4 and c12orf30 loci associated with multiple auto-immune diseases are also associated with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2009;60(7):2124-2130.
Subtypes of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) share phenotypic features with other autoimmune disorders. We investigated several genetic variants associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and other autoimmune disorders for association with JIA, to test the hypothesis that clinically distinct phenotypes share common genetic susceptibility factors.
Cases were 445 children with JIA, and controls were 643 healthy adults. Eight single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 7 loci [TNFAIP3 (rs10499194 and rs6920220), RSBN1 (rs6679677), C12ORF30 (rs17696736), TRAF1 (rs3761847), IL2RA (rs2104286), PTPN2 (rs2542151), and STAT4 (rs7574865)] were genotyped by the TaqMan assay. Alleles and genotypes were analyzed for association with JIA and JIA subtypes. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were calculated.
The strongest associations were observed for TNFAIP3 variants rs10499194 (OR: 0.74 (0.61-0.91); p <0.004), and TNFAIP3 rs6920220 (OR: 1.3 (1.05-1.61); p <0.02). We also observed associations between JIA and STAT4 (OR: 1.24 (1.02-1.51); p <0.03) and C12ORF30 (OR: 1.2 (1.01-1.43); p <0.04) variants. The PTPN2 variant rs2542151 deviated from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium and was excluded from analyses. Variants in IL2RA, TRAF1, and RSBN1 were not associated with JIA. After stratification by JIA subtype, TNFAIP3 and C12ORF30 variants were associated with oligoarticular JIA, while the STAT4 variant was associated primarily with polyarticular JIA.
We have demonstrated associations between JIA and variants in TNFAIP3, STAT4 and C12ORF30 regions that have previously shown associations with other autoimmune diseases, including RA and systemic lupus erythematosus. Our results suggest that clinically distinct autoimmune phenotypes share common genetic susceptibility factors.
PMCID: PMC3104295  PMID: 19565500
JRA; genetics; autoimmune; association; juvenile idiopathic arthritis; rheumatoid arthritis
22.  Lack of Association of Caucasian Rheumatoid Arthritis Susceptibility Loci in a Korean Population 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2009;60(2):364-371.
Recent studies have identified a number of novel rheumatoid arthritis (RA) loci in Caucasian populations. In this study, we sought to determine whether the genetic variants at 4q27, 6q23, CCL21, TRAF1/C5, and CD40 identified in Caucasians are also associated with RA in a Korean case-control collection. We also comprehensively evaluated the genetic variation within PTPN22, a well established autoimmune disease-associated gene.
We designed a Sequenom iPlex experiment to thoroughly evaluate the PTPN22 linkage disequilibrium region using tag SNPs and disease-associated SNPs at 5 other previously reported Caucasian RA-associated loci in 1123 RA Korean RA patients and 1008 ethnically matched controls. We also re-sequenced the PTPN22 gene to look for novel coding variants that might be contributing to disease in this population.
None of the Caucasian RA susceptibility loci contributed significantly to disease in Koreans. Tag SNPs covering the PTPN22 linkage disequilibrium block, while polymorphic, did not reveal any disease association and re-sequencing did not identify any new common coding region variants in this population. The 6q23 and 4q27 SNPs assayed were non-polymorphic in this population and the TRAF1/C5, CD40, and CCL21 SNPs did not show any evidence for association.
Caucasian and Korean rheumatoid arthritis have different genetic risk factors. While patients of different ethnic groups share the HLA region as a major genetic risk locus, most other genes shown to be significantly associated with disease in Caucasians appear not to play a role in Korean RA.
PMCID: PMC2770844  PMID: 19180477
23.  Susceptibility to childhood onset rheumatoid arthritis: Investigation of a weighted genetic risk score that integrates cumulative effects of variants at five genetic loci 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2013;65(6):1663-1667.
Children with rheumatoid-factor or anti-citrullinated peptide antibody positive juvenile idiopathic arthritis represent the childhood onset of RA (CORA). To test the hypothesis that adult-onset RA-associated variants are also associated with CORA, we investigated RA-associated variants at five loci in our CORA cohort. We also assessed the cumulative association of these variants in the susceptibility to CORA using a weighted genetic risk score (wGRS).
155 children with CORA and 684 healthy controls were genotyped for five variants in PTPN22, TRAF1/C5, STAT4, and TNFAIP3 loci. High-resolution HLA-DRB1 genotypes were available for 149 cases and 373 controls. We tested each locus for association with CORA via logistic regression. We also computed a wGRS for each subject, with weights based on the natural log of the published odds ratios for the alleles investigated, and used logistic regression to test the wGRS for association with CORA.
CORA was associated with TNFAIP3-rs10499194 [OR 0.60 (95%CI 0.44–0.83)], PTPN22-rs2476601 [OR 1.61 (1.11–2.31)], and STAT4-rs7574865 [OR 1.41 (1.06–1.87)] variants. The wGRS was significantly different between cases and controls (P<2×10−16). Individuals in the third to fifth quintiles of wGRS had a significantly increased disease risk compared to the baseline. Higher wGRS associated with increased risk of CORA, especially among males.
TNFAIP3, STAT4 and PTPN22 variants are associated with CORA in a similar magnitude and direction as in RA, suggesting that adult-onset RA and CORA share common genetic risk factors. Utilizing a wGRS, we have demonstrated the cumulative association of RA-associated variants in the susceptibility to CORA.
PMCID: PMC3683854  PMID: 23450725
juvenile idiopathic arthritis; rheumatoid arthritis; genetics; association
24.  The Minor Allele of rs7574865 in the STAT4 Gene Is Associated with Increased mRNA and Protein Expression 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(11):e0142683.
The T allele of rs7574865 in STAT4 confers risk of developing autoimmune disorders. However, its functional significance remains unclear. Here we analyze how rs7574865 affects the transcription of STAT4 and its protein expression.
We studied 201 patients (80% female; median age, 54 years; median disease duration, 5.4 months) from PEARL study. Demographic, clinical, laboratory and therapeutic data were collected at each visit. IL-6 serum levels were measured by enzyme immune assay. The rs7574865 was genotyped using TaqMan probes. The expression levels of STAT4 mRNA were determined at 182 visits from 69 patients using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. STAT4 protein was assessed by western blot in 62 samples from 34 patients. To determine the effect of different variables on the expression of STAT4 mRNA and protein, we performed multivariate longitudinal analyses using generalized linear models.
After adjustment for age, disease activity and glucocorticoid dose as confounders, the presence of at least one copy of the T allele of rs7574865 was significantly associated with higher levels of STAT4 mRNA. Similarly, TT patients showed significantly higher levels of STAT4 protein than GG patients. IL-6 induced STAT4 and STAT5 phosphorylation in peripheral blood lymphocytes. Patients carrying at least one T allele of rs7574865 displayed lower levels of serum IL-6 compared to GG homozygous; by contrast the production of C-reactive protein was similar in both populations.
Our data suggest that the presence of the rs7574865 T allele enhances STAT4 mRNA transcription and protein expression. It may enhance the signaling of molecules depending on the STAT4 pathway.
PMCID: PMC4646635  PMID: 26569609
25.  Association between a C8orf13–BLK Polymorphism and Polymyositis/Dermatomyositis in the Japanese Population: An Additive Effect with STAT4 on Disease Susceptibility 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e90019.
Accumulating evidence has shown that several non-HLA genes are involved in the susceptibility to polymyositis/dermatomyositis. This study aimed to investigate the involvement of C8orf13–BLK, one of the strongest candidate genes for autoimmune diseases, in susceptibility to polymyositis/dermatomyositis in the Japanese population. A possible gene–gene interaction between C8orf13–BLK and STAT4, which we recently showed to be associated with Japanese polymyositis/dermatomyositis, was also analyzed.
A single-nucleotide polymorphism in C8orf13–BLK (dbSNP ID: rs13277113) was investigated in the Japanese population using a TaqMan assay in 283 polymyositis patients, 194 dermatomyositis patients, and 656 control subjects.
The C8orf13–BLK rs13277113A allele was associated with overall polymyositis/dermatomyositis (P<0.001, odds ratio [OR] 1.44, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.19–1.73), as well as polymyositis (P = 0.011, OR 1.32, 95% CI 1.06–1.64) and dermatomyositis (P<0.001, OR 1.64, 95% CI 1.26–2.12). No association was observed between the C8orf13–BLK rs13277113A allele and either interstitial lung disease or anti-Jo-1 antibody positivity. The C8orf13–BLK rs13277113 A and STAT4 rs7574865 T alleles had an additive effect on polymyositis/dermatomyositis susceptibility. The strongest association was observed in dermatomyositis, with an OR of 3.07 (95% CI; 1.57–6.02) for the carriers of four risk alleles at the two SNP sites, namely, rs1327713 and rs7574865.
This study established C8orf13–BLK as a new genetic susceptibility factor for polymyositis/dermatomyositis. Both C8orf13–BLK and STAT4 exert additive effects on disease susceptibility. These observations suggested that C8orf13–BLK, in combination with STAT4, plays a pivotal role in creating genetic susceptibility to polymyositis/dermatomyositis in Japanese individuals.
PMCID: PMC3954551  PMID: 24632671

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