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1.  Excess female siblings and male fetal loss in families with systemic lupus erythematosus 
The Journal of rheumatology  2013;40(4):430-434.
Background
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) occurs more frequently among woman than men. We undertook the present study to determine whether the male-female ratio in SLE families is different than expected by chance, and whether excess male fetal loss is found.
Methods
All SLE patients met the revised American College of Rheumatology Classification criteria, while SLE-unaffected subjects were shown not to satisfy these same criteria. Putative family relationships were confirmed by genetic testing. Pregnancy history was obtained from all subjects, including unrelated control woman. Adjusted Wald binomial confidence intervals (CI) were calculated for ratio of boys to girls in families and compared to the expected ratio of 1.06
Results
There were 2578 subjects with SLE with 6056 siblings. Considering all subjects, we found 3201 boys and 5434 girls (ratio=0.59, of 95% CI 0.576–0.602). When considering only the SLE-unaffected siblings, there were 2919 boys and 3137 girls (ratio=0.93, 95%CI 0.92–0.94). In both cases, the ratio of males-to-females is statistically different than the known birth rate. Among SLE patients as well as among their sisters and mothers there was an excess of male fetal loss compared to the controls.
Conclusion
Siblings of SLE patients are more likely to be girls than expected. This finding may be in part explained by excess male fetal loss, which is found among SLE patients and their first degree relatives.
doi:10.3899/jrheum.120643
PMCID: PMC3693848  PMID: 23378464
Systemic lupus erythematosus; sex ratio; fetal loss; pregnancy
2.  Klinefelter’s Syndrome, 47,XXY, in Male Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Supports a Gene Dose Effect from the X Chromosome 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2008;58(8):2511-2517.
Background
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a systemic autoimmune disease that predominantly affects women. Despite Klinefelter's syndrome (47,XXY) and SLE coexisting in isolated cases, no association has been established with SLE or any other autoimmune disease. Methods: Sex chromosome genotyping was performed in 981 SLE patients (213 were men). A first group of 843 SLE patients from 378 multiplex families and a second group of 138 men with non-familial SLE were evaluated. Fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) and karyotyping in transformed B cell lines enumerated chromosomes for selected cases.
Results
Of 213 men with SLE, five had Klinefelter's syndrome (or 1 in 43). Four of them were heterozygous at X markers. FISH and karyotyping confirmed Klinefelter’s syndrome in the fifth. An overall rate of 235 47,XXY per 10,000 male SLE patients (95%CI: 77 to 539) was found, a dramatic increase over the known prevalence of Klinefelter's syndrome in an unselected population (17 per 10,000 live male births). Asking men with SLE about fertility was highly sensitive (100%) for Klinefelter’s syndrome. All 768 SLE women were heterozygous at X.
Conclusions
47,XXY Klinefelter's syndrome, often subclinical, is increased in men with SLE by ~14-fold, compared to its prevalence in men without SLE. Diagnostic vigilance for 47,XXY males in SLE is warranted. These data are the first to associate Klinefelter's syndrome with an autoimmune disease found predominantly in women. The risk of SLE in Klinefelter's syndrome is predicted to be similar to the risk in normal 46,XX women and ~14-fold higher than in 46,XY men, consistent with SLE susceptibility being partly explained by a X chromosome gene dose effect.
doi:10.1002/art.23701
PMCID: PMC2824898  PMID: 18668569
3.  Complete complement deficiency in a large cohort of familial systemic lupus erythematosus 
Lupus  2009;19(1):52-57.
Genetic complete deficiency of the early complement components such as C1, C2 and C4 commonly results in a monogenetic form of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). However, previous studies have examined groups of complete complement deficient subjects for SLE, while a familial SLE cohort has not been studied for deficiencies of complement. Thus, we undertook the present study to determine the frequency of hereditary complete complement deficiencies among families with two or more SLE patients. All SLE patients from 544 such families had CH50 determined. Medical records were examined for past CH50 values. There were 66 individuals in whom all available CH50 values were zero. All but four of these had an SLE-affected relative with a non-zero CH50; thus, these families did not have monogenic complement deficient related SLE. The four remaining SLE-affected subjects were in fact two sets of siblings in which 3 of the 4 SLE patients had onset of disease at <18 years of age. Both patients in one of these families had been determined to have C4 deficiency, while the other family had no clinical diagnosis of complement deficiency. In this second family, one of the SLE patients had had normal C4 and C3 values, indicating that either C1q or C2 deficiency was possible. Thus, only 2 of 544 SLE families had definite or possible complement deficiency; however, 1 of 7 families in which all SLE patients had pediatric onset and 2 of 85 families with at least 1 pediatric-onset SLE patent had complete complement deficiency. SLE is found commonly among families with hereditary complement deficiency but the reverse is not true. Complete complement deficiency is rare among families with two or more SLE patients, but is concentrated among families with onset of SLE prior to age 18.
doi:10.1177/0961203309346508
PMCID: PMC2824327  PMID: 19910391
4.  Autoimmune diseases and autoantibodies in the first degree relatives of patients with systemic sclerosis☆ 
Journal of autoimmunity  2010;35(1):52-57.
Objective
To determine aggregation of autoimmune diseases in the first degree relatives (FDR) of patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc) and to investigate frequencies of antinuclear antibodies (ANA) and other autoantibodies in the FDRs and spouses of patients with SSc.
Methods
Information on FDRs including history of autoimmune disease was obtained from unrelated SSc probands in the Scleroderma Family Registry and DNA Repository. FDRs were contacted to verify any reported autoimmune diseases. The prevalence of autoimmune disease in probands’ families was compared with the corresponding prevalence in controls’ families as reported in the literature. Furthermore, sera from probands’ FDRs and spouses in addition to unrelated controls were investigated for the presence of autoantibodies (ANA).
Results
We investigated 4612 FDRs of 1071 SSc probands. SSc probands with anti-centromere antibodies (ACA) and limited disease type were more likely to report familial autoimmunity (p = 0.022 and p = 0.041, respectively). The four most prevalent autoimmune diseases among SSc probands’ FDRs were hypothyroidism (4%), Rheumatoid arthritis (1.5%), hyperthyroidism (1.3%) and systemic lupus erythematosus-SLE (0.4%). Compared to control families, SLE, hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism were more common in SSc probands’ families. The most striking increase for familial prevalence was observed in SLE (OR = 16.98, 95% CI = 1.02–227.82, p = 0.004). ANA was present in 14.2% of probands’ FDR’s and 8.6% of spouses and did not differ from the prevalence of ANA among controls (p = 0.124 and p = 0.477, respectively). Only two FDRs of probands had ACA while none had anti-topoisomerase antibodies.
Conclusion
Our study implies varying degrees of risk for familial autoimmunity among subtypes of SSc and provides further support for common genetic and potentially environmental factors leading to SSc and SLE.
doi:10.1016/j.jaut.2010.02.001
PMCID: PMC2878866  PMID: 20223638
Systemic sclerosis; Scleroderma; First degree relatives; ANA; Autoimmune disease
5.  Analysis of autosomal genes reveals gene–sex interactions and higher total genetic risk in men with systemic lupus erythematosus 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2011;71(5):694-699.
Objectives
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a sexually dimorphic autoimmune disease which is more common in women, but affected men often experience a more severe disease. The genetic basis of sexual dimorphism in SLE is not clearly defined. A study was undertaken to examine sex-specific genetic effects among SLE susceptibility loci.
Methods
A total of 18 autosomal genetic susceptibility loci for SLE were genotyped in a large set of patients with SLE and controls of European descent, consisting of 5932 female and 1495 male samples. Sex-specific genetic association analyses were performed. The sex–gene interaction was further validated using parametric and nonparametric methods. Aggregate differences in sex-specific genetic risk were examined by calculating a cumulative genetic risk score for SLE in each individual and comparing the average genetic risk between male and female patients.
Results
A significantly higher cumulative genetic risk for SLE was observed in men than in women. (P = 4.52×10−8) A significant sex–gene interaction was seen primarily in the human leucocyte antigen (HLA) region but also in IRF5, whereby men with SLE possess a significantly higher frequency of risk alleles than women. The genetic effect observed in KIAA1542 is specific to women with SLE and does not seem to have a role in men.
Conclusions
The data indicate that men require a higher cumulative genetic load than women to develop SLE. These observations suggest that sex bias in autoimmunity could be influenced by autosomal genetic susceptibility loci.
doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2011-200385
PMCID: PMC3324666  PMID: 22110124
6.  Selective Involvement of the Amygdala in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(12):e499.
Background
Antibodies specifically affect the amygdala in a mouse model of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The aim of our study was to investigate whether there is also specific involvement of the amygdala in human SLE.
Methods and Findings
We analyzed a group of 37 patients with neuropsychiatric SLE (NP-SLE), 21 patients with SLE, and a group of 12 healthy control participants with diffusion weighted imaging (DWI). In addition, in a subset of eight patients, plasma was available to determine their anti-NMDAR antibody status. From the structural magnetic resonance imaging data, the amygdala and the hippocampus were segmented, as well as the white and gray matter, and the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) was retrieved. ADC values between controls, patients with SLE, and patients with NP-SLE were tested using analysis of variance with post-hoc Bonferroni correction. No differences were found in the gray or white matter segments. The average ADC in the amygdala of patients with NP-SLE and SLE (940 × 10−6 mm2/s; p = 0.006 and 949 × 10−6 mm2/s; p = 0.019, respectively) was lower than in healthy control participants (1152 × 10−6 mm2/s). Mann-Whitney analysis revealed that the average ADC in the amygdala of patients with anti-NMDAR antibodies (n = 4; 802 × 10−6 mm2/s) was lower (p = 0.029) than the average ADC of patients without anti-NMDAR antibodies (n = 4; 979 × 10−6 mm2/s) and also lower (p = 0.001) than in healthy control participants.
Conclusions
This is the first study to our knowledge to observe damage in the amygdala in patients with SLE. Patients with SLE with anti-NMDAR antibodies had more severe damage in the amygdala compared to SLE patients without anti-NMDAR antibodies.
Patients with SLE who also had antibodies against the NMDA receptor had more severe damage in the amygdala as compared with patients with SLE without these antibodies.
Editors' Summary
Background.
The human body is continually attacked by viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites, but the immune system usually prevents these pathogens from causing disease. To be effective, the immune system has to respond rapidly to foreign antigens (bits of proteins that are unique to the pathogen) but ignore self-antigens. In autoimmune diseases, this ability to discriminate between self and nonself fails for unknown reasons, and the immune system begins to destroy human tissues. In the chronic autoimmune disease systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus), the immune system attacks the skin, joints, nervous system, and many other organs. Patients with SLE make numerous “autoantibodies” (antibodies are molecules made by the immune system that recognize and attack antigens; autoantibodies attack self-antigens). These autoantibodies start the attack on the body; then other parts of the immune system join in, causing inflammation and forming deposits of immune cells, both of which damage tissues. Common symptoms of SLE include skin rashes and arthritis, but some patients develop NP-SLE, a form of SLE that includes neuropsychiatric symptoms such as amnesia, dementia, mood disorders, strokes, and seizures. There is no cure for SLE, but mild cases are controlled with ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; severe cases are kept in check with corticosteroids and other powerful immunosuppressants.
Why Was This Study Done?
In most of the tissues affected by SLE, the damage done by autoantibodies and immune cells can be seen when the tissues are examined with a microscope. But there is little microscopic damage visible in the brains of patients with NP-SLE. More generally, it is unclear how or even whether the immune system affects mental functions and emotion. In this study, researchers used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to investigate whether there are any structural changes in the brains of patients with NP-SLE that could explain their neuropsychiatric symptoms. They have also examined whether any changes in the brain can be linked to the presence of autoantibodies that recognize a protein called the NMDA receptor (anti-NMDAR antibodies) that is present on brain cells.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used an MRI technique called diffusion weighted imaging to examine the brains of several patients with NP-SLE or SLE and the brains of several healthy individuals. Using this technique, it is possible to quantify the amount of structural damage in different regions of the brain. The researchers found no differences in most areas of the brain between the two groups of patients and the healthy controls. However, there were clear signs of damage in the amygdala (the part of the brain that regulates emotions and triggers responses to danger) in the patients with SLE or NP-SLE when compared to the control individuals. The researchers also found that the damage was more severe in the patients who had anti-NMDAR autoantibodies than in those that did not have these autoantibodies.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that autoantibodies produced by patients with SLE specifically damage the amygdala, a discovery that helps to explain some of the neuropsychiatric symptoms of this condition. Previous work has shown that the treatment of mice with anti-NMDAR antibodies and epinephrine, a stress hormone that causes leaks in the blood-brain barrier (antibodies can't usually get into the brain because of this barrier), results in damage to the amygdala and a deficient response to dangerous stimuli. The researchers suggest that a similar series of events might happen in SLE—patients often mention that a period of major stress precedes the development of symptoms. To provide stronger evidence for such a scenario, a detailed study of how stress relates to neuropsychiatric symptoms is needed. The damage to the amygdala (and the lack of damage elsewhere in the brain) and the possible association between brain damage and anti-NMDAR antibodies seen in this small study also need to be confirmed in more patients. Nevertheless, these findings provide an intriguing glimpse into the interplay between the immune system and the brain and into how stress might lead to physical damage in the brain.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030499.
MedlinePlus encyclopedia pages on autoimmunity and on systemic lupus erythematosus
US National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases booklet for patients with SLE
American College of Rheumatology information for patients on SLE
NHS Direct Online Health Encyclopedia pages on SLE
The Lupus Foundation of America information and support for patients with SLE
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030499
PMCID: PMC1702559  PMID: 17177602
7.  Mutations in Complement Regulatory Proteins Predispose to Preeclampsia: A Genetic Analysis of the PROMISSE Cohort 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(3):e1001013.
Jane Salmon and colleagues studied 250 pregnant patients with SLE and/or antiphospholipid antibodies and found an association of risk variants in complement regulatory proteins in patients who developed preeclampsia, as well as in preeclampsia patients lacking autoimmune disease.
Background
Pregnancy in women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) or antiphospholipid antibodies (APL Ab)—autoimmune conditions characterized by complement-mediated injury—is associated with increased risk of preeclampsia and miscarriage. Our previous studies in mice indicate that complement activation targeted to the placenta drives angiogenic imbalance and placental insufficiency.
Methods and Findings
We use PROMISSE, a prospective study of 250 pregnant patients with SLE and/or APL Ab, to test the hypothesis in humans that impaired capacity to limit complement activation predisposes to preeclampsia. We sequenced genes encoding three complement regulatory proteins—membrane cofactor protein (MCP), complement factor I (CFI), and complement factor H (CFH)—in 40 patients who had preeclampsia and found heterozygous mutations in seven (18%). Five of these patients had risk variants in MCP or CFI that were previously identified in atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome, a disease characterized by endothelial damage. One had a novel mutation in MCP that impairs regulation of C4b. These findings constitute, to our knowledge, the first genetic defects associated with preeclampsia in SLE and/or APL Ab. We confirmed the association of hypomorphic variants of MCP and CFI in a cohort of non-autoimmune preeclampsia patients in which five of 59 were heterozygous for mutations.
Conclusion
The presence of risk variants in complement regulatory proteins in patients with SLE and/or APL Ab who develop preeclampsia, as well as in preeclampsia patients lacking autoimmune disease, links complement activation to disease pathogenesis and suggests new targets for treatment of this important public health problem.
Study Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00198068
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Most pregnancies culminate in the birth of a healthy baby but, sadly, about a quarter of women lose their babies during pregnancy. A common pregnancy-related medical problem that threatens the life of both baby and mother is preeclampsia. Mild and severe preeclampsia affects up to 10% and 1%–2% of pregnancies, respectively. Preeclampsia occurs because of a problem with the function of the placenta, the organ that transfers nutrients and oxygen from mother to baby and removes waste products from the baby. Although preeclampsia begins early in pregnancy, it is diagnosed by the onset of high blood pressure (hypertension) and the appearance of protein in the urine (proteinuria) after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Other warning signs include headaches and swelling of the hands and face. The only cure for preeclampsia is delivery, and labor is usually induced early to prevent eclampsia (seizures), stroke, liver and kidney failure, and breathing and blood vessel problems developing in the mother. Although delivery before 37 weeks of pregnancy is not generally recommended, in cases of preeclampsia it may be too dangerous for both the baby and the mother to allow the pregnancy to continue. Unfortunately when severe preeclampsia occurs in the second trimester, babies weighing only 500 grams may be delivered and they may not survive.
Why Was This Study Done?
Because the exact cause of preeclampsia is unknown, it is difficult to develop treatments for the condition or to find ways to prevent it. Many experts think that immune system problems—in particular, perturbations in complement activation—may be involved in preeclampsia. The complement system is a set of blood proteins that attacks invading bacteria and viruses. The activation of complement proteins is usually tightly regulated (overactivation of the complement system causes tissue damage) and, because preeclampsia may run in families, one hypothesis is that mutations (genetic changes) in complement regulatory proteins might predispose women to preeclampsia. In this study, the researchers test this hypothesis by sequencing genes encoding complement regulatory proteins in pregnant women with the autoimmune diseases systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and/or antiphospholipid antibodies (APL Ab) who developed preeclampsia. In autoimmune diseases, the immune system attacks healthy human cells instead of harmful invaders. Both SLE and APL Ab are characterized by complement-mediated tissue injury and are associated with an increased risk of preeclampsia and miscarriage.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
Two hundred fifty women with SLE and/or APL Ab were enrolled into the PROMISSE study (a multi-center observational study to identify predictors of pregnancy outcome in women with SLE and/or APL Ab) when they were 12 weeks pregnant and followed through pregnancy. Thirty patients developed preeclampsia during the study and ten more had had preeclampsia during a previous pregnancy. The researchers sequenced the genes for complement regulatory proteins: membrane cofactor protein (MCP), factor I, and factor H in these 40 patients. Seven women (18%) had mutations in one copy of one of these genes (there are two copies of most genes in human cells). Five mutations were alterations in MCP or factor I that are gene variants that increase the risk of hemolytic uremic syndrome, a disease characterized by blood vessel damage. The sixth mutation was a new MCP mutation that impaired MCP's ability to regulate complement component C4b. The final mutation was a factor H mutation that did not have any obvious functional effect. No mutations in complement regulatory proteins were found in 34 matched participants in PROMISSE without preeclampsia but, among a group of non-autoimmune women who developed preeclampsia during pregnancy, 10% had mutations in MCP or factor I.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings identify MCP and factor I mutations as genetic defects associated with preeclampsia in pregnant women with SLE and/or APL Ab. Importantly, they also reveal an association between similar mutations and preeclampsia in women without any underlying autoimmune disease. Taken together with evidence from previous animal experiments, these findings suggest that dysregulation of complement activation is involved in the development of preeclampsia. Although further studies are needed to confirm and extend these findings, these results suggest that proteins involved in the regulation of complement activation could be new targets for the treatment of preeclampsia and raise the possibility that tests could be developed to identify women at risk of developing preeclampsia.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001013.
Tommy's, a UK charity that funds scientific research into the causes and prevention of miscarriage, premature birth, and stillbirth, has information on preeclampsia
The March of Dimes Foundation, a nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health, has information on preeclampsia
The UK National Health Services Choices website also has information about preeclampsia
Wikipedia has pages on the complement system, on autoimmune disease, and on preeclampsia (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
More information on the PROMISSE study is available
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001013
PMCID: PMC3062534  PMID: 21445332
8.  Elevated Serum Levels of Interferon-Regulated Chemokines Are Biomarkers for Active Human Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(12):e491.
Background
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a serious systemic autoimmune disorder that affects multiple organ systems and is characterized by unpredictable flares of disease. Recent evidence indicates a role for type I interferon (IFN) in SLE pathogenesis; however, the downstream effects of IFN pathway activation are not well understood. Here we test the hypothesis that type I IFN-regulated proteins are present in the serum of SLE patients and correlate with disease activity.
Methods and Findings
We performed a comprehensive survey of the serologic proteome in human SLE and identified dysregulated levels of 30 cytokines, chemokines, growth factors, and soluble receptors. Particularly striking was the highly coordinated up-regulation of 12 inflammatory and/or homeostatic chemokines, molecules that direct the movement of leukocytes in the body. Most of the identified chemokines were inducible by type I IFN, and their levels correlated strongly with clinical and laboratory measures of disease activity.
Conclusions
These data suggest that severely disrupted chemokine gradients may contribute to the systemic autoimmunity observed in human SLE. Furthermore, the levels of serum chemokines may serve as convenient biomarkers for disease activity in lupus.
A comprehensive survey of the serologic proteome in human SLE suggests that severely disrupted chemokine gradients may contribute to the systemic autoimmunity observed.
Editors' Summary
Background.
The term “lupus,” meaning wolf in Latin, is often used as an abbreviation for the disease systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The name may have been given because some people with SLE have a rash that slightly resembles a wolf's face. The condition affects around 50 to 100 people per 100,000, and is much more common in women than men. SLE is a complicated disease that comes about when antibodies inappropriately attack the body's own connective tissues, although it is not known why this happens. Symptoms vary between different people; the disease may get better and then worse, without explanation; and can affect many different organs including the skin, joints, kidneys, blood cells, and brain and nervous system. SLE is difficult for doctors to diagnose. Although the disease cannot be cured, patients who are diagnosed with SLE can be treated for their symptoms, and the right management can slow progress of the disease. One area of SLE research focuses on finding “molecular markers” (e.g., proteins or other compounds) that could be tested for in the blood. Researchers hope this would help doctors to more accurately diagnose SLE initially, and then also help to track progress in a patient's condition.
Why Was This Study Done?
“Gene expression” is a term meaning the process by which a gene's DNA sequence is converted into the structures and functions of a cell. These investigators had found in previous studies that certain genes were more “highly expressed” in the blood cells of patients with SLE. Some of these genes were already known to be regulated by interferons (a group of proteins, produced by certain blood cells, that are important in helping to defend against viral infections). The investigators performing this study wanted to understand more clearly the role of interferon in SLE and to see whether the genes that are more highly expressed in patients with SLE go on to produce higher levels of protein, which might then provide useful markers for monitoring the condition.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
This research project was a “case-control” study, in which the researchers compared the levels of certain proteins in the blood of people who had SLE with the levels in people who did not have the condition. Thirty people were recruited as cases, from a group of patients with SLE who have been under evaluation at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine since 1987. Fifteen controls were recruited from a group of healthy people of similar age and sex as the patients with SLE; everyone involved in the study gave their consent to take part. Blood samples were taken from each individual, and the serum (liquid component of blood) was separated out. The serum levels of 160 different blood proteins were then measured. When comparing levels of blood proteins between the groups, the researchers found that 30 specific proteins were present at higher or lower levels in the SLE-affected patients. Many of these proteins are cytokines, which are regulated by interferons and are involved in the process of “signaling” within the immune system. A few proteins were found at lower levels. Levels of the interferon-regulated proteins were, on average, seen at higher levels in people whose condition was more severe.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These results suggest that patients with SLE are likely to have a very different pattern of regulation of certain proteins within the blood, particularly the proteins involved in signaling within the immune system. The authors propose that these proteins may be involved in the progression of the disease. There is also the possibility that some of these proteins may prove useful in diagnostic tests, or in tests for monitoring how the disease progresses. However, before any such tests could be used in clinical practice, they would need to be further developed and then thoroughly tested in clinical trials.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030491
Patient information from the UK National Health Service on systemic lupus erythematosus
Patient handout from the US National Institutes of Health
MedlinePLUS encyclopedia entry on lupus
Information on lupus from the UK Arthritis Research Campaign
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030491
PMCID: PMC1702557  PMID: 17177599
9.  Time to Renal Disease and End-Stage Renal Disease in PROFILE: A Multiethnic Lupus Cohort 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(10):e396.
Background
Renal involvement is a serious manifestation of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE); it may portend a poor prognosis as it may lead to end-stage renal disease (ESRD). The purpose of this study was to determine the factors predicting the development of renal involvement and its progression to ESRD in a multi-ethnic SLE cohort (PROFILE).
Methods and Findings
PROFILE includes SLE patients from five different United States institutions. We examined at baseline the socioeconomic–demographic, clinical, and genetic variables associated with the development of renal involvement and its progression to ESRD by univariable and multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression analyses. Analyses of onset of renal involvement included only patients with renal involvement after SLE diagnosis (n = 229). Analyses of ESRD included all patients, regardless of whether renal involvement occurred before, at, or after SLE diagnosis (34 of 438 patients). In addition, we performed a multivariable logistic regression analysis of the variables associated with the development of renal involvement at any time during the course of SLE.
In the time-dependent multivariable analysis, patients developing renal involvement were more likely to have more American College of Rheumatology criteria for SLE, and to be younger, hypertensive, and of African-American or Hispanic (from Texas) ethnicity. Alternative regression models were consistent with these results. In addition to greater accrued disease damage (renal damage excluded), younger age, and Hispanic ethnicity (from Texas), homozygosity for the valine allele of FcγRIIIa (FCGR3A*GG) was a significant predictor of ESRD. Results from the multivariable logistic regression model that included all cases of renal involvement were consistent with those from the Cox model.
Conclusions
Fcγ receptor genotype is a risk factor for progression of renal disease to ESRD. Since the frequency distribution of FCGR3A alleles does not vary significantly among the ethnic groups studied, the additional factors underlying the ethnic disparities in renal disease progression remain to be elucidated.
Fcγ receptor genotype is a risk factor for progression of renal disease to ESRD but does not explain the ethnic disparities in renal disease progression.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Systemic lupus erythematosis (SLE, commonly known as “lupus”) is an illness of many manifestations that appear to result from the immune system attacking components of the body's own cells. One of the unfortunate effects of SLE is kidney damage, which can, in a minority of patients, progress to kidney failure (formally called “end-stage renal disease,” or ESRD). Compared to White Americans, other ethnic groups tend to develop renal complications of lupus more often and with worse outcomes.
Why Was This Study Done?
It is unclear why some people with lupus develop kidney problems. The purpose of this US-based study was to confirm the factors that increase the risk of kidney damage and kidney failure, particularly in racial and ethnic minority patients, and to determine which of these factors accelerate the pace of kidney disease. Knowing these risk factors could allow the development and targeting of interventions, such as screening tests and preventive treatments, to prevent long-term loss of kidney function in patients with lupus.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers measured a number of factors in a multi-ethnic group of 1,008 patients with lupus, almost half of whom had some degree of kidney involvement. They found that those who developed kidney damage after being diagnosed with lupus tended to be younger, to have had lupus for a longer time, and to have experienced more effects of lupus in general than those who did not have kidney involvement. Those who developed kidney problems were also more likely to have been unemployed, to have had fewer years of formal education, and to have had high blood pressure before developing kidney involvement. African-American and Texan Hispanic individuals with lupus were more likely to develop kidney involvement, and tended to develop it more rapidly, than White Americans or Puerto Rican Hispanic ethnicity. Actual kidney failure (ESRD requiring dialysis or kidney transplantation) was more likely to occur among Texan Hispanics with kidney involvement than in the other ethnic groups. Diabetes and high blood pressure were not found to predict ESRD, but people with a particular variant of a protein that helps antibodies bind to cells (know as Fc-gamma receptor IIIa, or FcγRIIIa) were found to be more likely to develop ESRD, and to develop it more quickly.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These results suggest that the emergence and progression of kidney disease in patients with lupus depends on medical, genetic, and socioeconomic factors. Because no single test or intervention can be expected to address all of these factors, those treating patients with lupus must remain aware of the complexity of their patients lives at a variety of levels. In particular, ethnic disparities in the risk of serious kidney disease remain to be addressed.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030396.
MedlinePlus page on lupus
Lupus Foundation of America
American College of Rheumatology pages on lupus
Wikipedia entry on lupus (note: Wikipedia is a free Internet encyclopedia that anyone can edit)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030396
PMCID: PMC1626549  PMID: 17076550
10.  The effects of previous Hysterectomy on Lupus 
Lupus  2009;18(11):1000-1005.
Summary
Hysterectomy is one of the most common surgical procedures performed in United States, and currently, one in three women in United States has had a hysterectomy by the age of 60 years. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a common autoimmune disease and especially targets women of childbearing age at least 10 times higher than men, which reflects the major role of female sex hormones. In this retrospective study, we evaluate the potential effects of previous hysterectomy in our lupus cohort.Data collected fromstudy subject questionnaires were obtained fromthe Lupus Family Registry and Repository (LFRR) at the OklahomaMedical Research Foundation. Hysterectomy data were available from 3389 subjects. SLE patients with a positive history of hysterectomy have been selected and compared with matched lupus patients with a negative history of hysterectomy and healthy controls. Association analyses were performed, and the P values and adjusted odds ratios (ORs) were calculated. SLE patients with a negative history of hysterectomy more likely had kidney nephritis or positive anti-dsDNA than age-matched SLE patients with a history of hysterectomy before disease onset. This effect was independent of ethnicity with an OR of 6.66 (95% CI = 3.09–14.38, P = 1.00 × 10−8) in European patients and 2.74 (95% CI = 1.43–5.25, P = 0.001) in African-Americans. SLE patients with a positive history of hysterectomy before disease onset also had a later age of disease onset (P = 0.0001) after adjustment for age and race. Our findings support the notion that the influence of female sex hormones in SLE and various clinical findings are tremendous and that surgical menopause such as this could significantly affect the outcome of disease and clinical manifestations
doi:10.1177/0961203309104315
PMCID: PMC2769169  PMID: 19762402
11.  Autoimmune thyroid disease is associated with a diagnosis of secondary Sjögren's syndrome in familial systemic lupus 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2006;66(3):410-413.
Background
Autoimmune thyroid disease is common in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). About 20% of patients with SLE have secondary Sjögren's syndrome.
Methods
Families with more than one patient with SLE were identified. All patients met the revised classification criteria, although SLE‐unaffected relatives were confirmed not to satisfy these criteria. Diagnosis of autoimmune thyroid disease and Sjögren's syndrome was made on the basis of a review of medical records, interview and questionnaire administered to patients with SLE, and by a questionnaire administered to SLE‐unaffected subjects.
Results
Of a total of 1138 patients with SLE, 169 had a diagnosis of Sjögren's syndrome. Of these 50 (29.6%) patients also had autoimmune thyroid disease. Of the 939 patients with SLE with no diagnosis of Sjögren's syndrome, 119 (12.7%) had autoimmune thyroid disease (χ2 = 20.1, p = 0.000009). There was no association of a diagnosis of hypertension with secondary Sjögren's syndrome (42% vss 47%). Among 2291 SLE‐unaffected relatives, 44 had diagnosed primary Sjögren's syndrome and 16 (36.3%) of these also had autoimmune thyroid disease. 265 of 2247 (11.8%) subjects had autoimmune thyroid disease but no Sjögren's syndrome (χ2 = 24.2, p<0.001).
Conclusions
Autoimmune thyroid disease is found in excess among patients with SLE with a diagnosis of secondary Sjögren's syndrome, as well as among their SLE‐unaffected relatives with a diagnosis of primary Sjögren's syndrome.
doi:10.1136/ard.2006.055103
PMCID: PMC1856020  PMID: 16984944
12.  Low frequency of CD4+CD25+ Treg in SLE patients: a heritable trait associated with CTLA4 and TGFβ gene variants 
BMC Immunology  2009;10:5.
Background
CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells play an essential role in maintaining immune homeostasis and preventing autoimmunity. Therefore, defects in Treg development, maintenance or function have been associated with several human autoimmune diseases including Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), a systemic autoimmune disease characterized by loss of tolerance to nuclear components and significantly more frequent in females.
Results
To investigate the involvement of Treg in SLE pathogenesis, we determined the frequency of CD4+CD25+CD45RO+ T cells, which encompass the majority of Treg activity, in the PBMC of 148 SLE patients (76 patients were part of 54 families), 166 relatives and 117 controls. SLE patients and their relatives were recruited in several Portuguese hospitals and through the Portuguese Lupus Association. Control individuals were blood donors recruited from several regional blood donor centers. Treg frequency was significantly lower in SLE patients than healthy controls (z = -6.161, P < 0.00001) and intermediate in the relatives' group. Remarkably, this T cell subset was also lower in females, most strikingly in the control population (z = 4.121, P < 0.001). We further ascertained that the decreased frequency of Treg in SLE patients resulted from the specific reduction of bona fide FOXP3+CD4+CD25+ Treg. Treg frequency was negatively correlated with SLE activity index (SLEDAI) and titers of serum anti-dsDNA antibodies. Both Treg frequency and disease activity were modulated by IVIg treatment in a documented SLE case. The segregation of Treg frequency within the SLE families was indicative of a genetic trait. Candidate gene analysis revealed that specific variants of CTLA4 and TGFβ were associated with the decreased frequency of Treg in PBMC, while FOXP3 gene variants were associated with affection status, but not with Treg frequency.
Conclusion
SLE patients have impaired Treg production or maintenance, a trait strongly associated with SLE disease activity and autoantibody titers, and possibly resulting from the inability to convert FOXP3+CD25- into FOXP3+CD25+ T cells. Treg frequency is highly heritable within SLE families, with specific variants of the CTLA4 and TGFβ genes contributing to this trait, while FOXP3 contributes to SLE through mechanisms not involving a modulation of Treg frequency. These findings establish that the genetic components in SLE pathogenesis include genes related to Treg generation or maintenance.
doi:10.1186/1471-2172-10-5
PMCID: PMC2656467  PMID: 19173720
13.  Cross-sectional analysis of adverse outcomes in 1,029 pregnancies of Afro-Caribbean women in Trinidad with and without systemic lupus erythematosus 
The objective of the study was to examine pregnancy outcomes in women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and population controls in Trinidad. We performed a cross-sectional analysis of adverse outcomes in pregnancies of Afro-Caribbean women with SLE and without SLE. One hundred and twenty-two female adult cases of SLE and 203 neighbourhood age-matched women without SLE were interviewed concerning details of their reproductive history, and the anticardiolipin antibody (ACL) status was established for women with SLE. A total of 1,029 pregnancies were reported (356 by women with SLE, 673 by women without SLE). In women with ≥ 1 pregnancy the total number of pregnancies was similar in women with a diagnosis of SLE and women without; however, a lower proportion of women with SLE had ever been pregnant compared with women without SLE (80% versus 91%, P = 0.002). In multivariate logistic regression analyses adjusted for maternal age, district of residence, pregnancy order and smoking, SLE pregnancies were more than twice as likely to end in foetal death than non-SLE pregnancies (odds ratio (OR), 2.4; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.2–4.7). This effect was driven by a large increase in the odds of stillbirth (OR, 8.5; 95% CI, 2.5–28.8). The odds of early miscarriage (OR, 1.4; 95% CI, 0.6–3.1) and of mid-trimester miscarriage (OR, 1.9; 95% CI, 0.4–9.5) were higher, but were not statistically significantly different, in SLE pregnancies than in non-SLE pregnancies. The odds of ectopic pregnancy (OR, 7.5; 95% CI, 0.9–62.5) and of preterm birth (OR, 3.4; 95% CI, 1.2–10.0) were higher in SLE pregnancies conceived after diagnosis than in non-SLE pregnancies. There was no evidence of raised levels of IgG or IgM ACL among the majority (93/97 women, 96%) of SLE cases who reported sporadic mid-trimester miscarriage or stillbirth, although there was evidence of high levels of IgM and IgG ACL among women reporting three or more miscarriages and three consecutive miscarriages, and of raised IgG ACL among those experiencing ectopic pregnancy. In conclusion, we found evidence for a large increase in risk of stillbirth in the pregnancies of Afro-Caribbean Trinidadian women with SLE (not accounted for by high ACL status). There was some evidence of an increased risk of preterm delivery and ectopic pregnancy in pregnancies conceived after a diagnosis of maternal SLE.
doi:10.1186/ar2332
PMCID: PMC2246243  PMID: 18042277
14.  Population-Based Incidence and Prevalence of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
Objective
To estimate the incidence and prevalence of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in a sociodemographically diverse southeastern Michigan source population of 2.4 million people.
Methods
SLE cases fulfilling the American College of Rheumatology classification criteria (primary case definition) or meeting rheumatologist-judged SLE criteria (secondary definition) and residing in Wayne or Washtenaw Counties during 2002–2004 were included. Case finding was performed from 6 source types, including hospitals and private specialists. Age-standardized rates were computed, and capture–recapture was performed to estimate underascertainment of cases.
Results
The overall age-adjusted incidence and prevalence (ACR definition) per 100,000 persons were 5.5 (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 5.0–6.1) and 72.8 (95% CI 70.8–74.8). Among females, the incidence was 9.3 per 100,000 persons and the prevalence was 128.7 per 100,000 persons. Only 7 cases were estimated to have been missed by capture–recapture, adjustment for which did not materially affect the rates. SLE prevalence was 2.3-fold higher in black persons than in white persons, and 10-fold higher in females than in males. Among incident cases, the mean ± SD age at diagnosis was 39.3 ± 16.6 years. Black SLE patients had a higher proportion of renal disease and end-stage renal disease (ESRD) (40.5% and 15.3%, respectively) as compared to white SLE patients (18.8% and 4.5%, respectively). Black patients with renal disease were diagnosed as having SLE at younger age than white patients with renal disease (mean ± SD 34.4 ± 14.9 years versus 41.9 ± 21.3 years; P = 0.05).
Conclusion
SLE prevalence was higher than has been described in most other population-based studies and reached 1 in 537 among black female persons. There were substantial racial disparities in the burden of SLE, with black patients experiencing earlier age at diagnosis, >2-fold increases in SLE incidence and prevalence, and increased proportions of renal disease and progression to ESRD as compared to white patients.
doi:10.1002/art.38238
PMCID: PMC4198147  PMID: 24504809
15.  High Dietary Fat Promotes Visceral Obesity and Impaired Endothelial Function in Female Mice with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
Gender medicine  2011;8(2):150-155.
Inflammation contributes to metabolic and cardiovascular disease. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic autoimmune inflammatory disorder that predominantly affects young women. Cardiovascular disease is a major cause of mortality in patients with SLE. We recently reported that a model of SLE (female NZBWF1 mice) develops characteristics of the metabolic syndrome. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that high dietary fat during SLE accelerates the development of cardiovascular risk factors such as central obesity and vascular dysfunction. Twenty four week old female SLE mice (NZBWF1) were fed either control diet (SLE, 10% kcal) or high fat diet (SLE+HF, 45% kcal) for a total of 14 weeks. Body weight was similar between SLE (42±1g, n=5) and SLE+HF (45±2g, n=6) and weight gain was not different in the SLE+HF mice (+18.0±3.0%) compared with controls (+15.8±3.6%) and food intake was not different (SLE, 2.2±0.3 vs. SLE+HF, 2.1±0.2 g/24 hours). Fifty seven percent of the SLE+HF mice exhibited signs of albuminuria (>100 mg/dL) compared with only 20% of the control SLE mice at the end of the experiment. Endothelial dependent relaxation in isolated carotid arteries was impaired in the SLE+HF group compared to SLE. Ovarian fat was increased in SLE+HF mice (6.6±0.5g) when compared to control SLE (5.4±0.1g, p<0.05) and liver weight was decreased in SLE+HF (1.6±0.1g) mice compared to control mice (1.9±0.1g, p<0.03). These data suggest that dietary fat accelerates renal injury and peripheral vascular dysfunction and promotes visceral obesity in a disease model with chronic inflammation.
doi:10.1016/j.genm.2011.03.006
PMCID: PMC3229028  PMID: 21536233
Lupus; Endothelial; Adipose
16.  Differences between Male and Female Systemic Lupus Erythematosus in a Multiethnic Population 
The Journal of rheumatology  2012;39(4):759-769.
Objective
Male patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) are thought to be similar to female patients with SLE, but key clinical characteristics may differ. Comparisons were made between male and female patients with SLE in the Hopkins Lupus Cohort.
Methods
A total of 1979 patients in the Hopkins Lupus Cohort were included in the analysis.
Results
The cohort consisted of 157 men (66.2% white, 33.8% African American) and 1822 women (59.8% white, 40.2% African American). The mean followup was 6.02 years (range 0–23.73). Men were more likely than women to have disability, hypertension, thrombosis, and renal, hematological, and serological manifestations. Men were more likely to be diagnosed at an older age and to have a lower education level. Women were more likely to have malar rash, photosensitivity, oral ulcers, alopecia, Raynaud’s phenomenon, or arthralgia. Men were more likely than women to have experienced end organ damage including neuropsychiatric, renal, cardiovascular, peripheral vascular disease, and myocardial infarction, and to have died. In general, differences between males and females were more numerous and striking in whites, especially with respect to lupus nephritis, abnormal serologies, and thrombosis.
Conclusion
Our study suggests that there are major clinical differences between male and female patients with SLE. Differences between male and female patients also depend on ethnicity. Future SLE studies will need to consider both ethnicity and gender to understand these differences.
doi:10.3899/jrheum.111061
PMCID: PMC3605704  PMID: 22382348
SYSTEMIC LUPUS ERYTHEMATOSUS; GENDER; MALE LUPUS
17.  TLR7 single-nucleotide polymorphisms in the 3' untranslated region and intron 2 independently contribute to systemic lupus erythematosus in Japanese women: a case-control association study 
Introduction
The Toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7) gene, encoded on human chromosome Xp22.3, is crucial for type I interferon production. A recent multicenter study in East Asian populations, comprising Chinese, Korean and Japanese participants, identified an association of a TLR7 single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) located in the 3' untranslated region (3' UTR), rs3853839, with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), especially in males, although some difference was observed among the tested populations. To test whether additional polymorphisms contribute to SLE in Japanese, we systematically analyzed the association of TLR7 with SLE in a Japanese female population.
Methods
A case-control association study was conducted on eight tag SNPs in the TLR7 region, including rs3853839, in 344 Japanese females with SLE and 274 healthy female controls.
Results
In addition to rs3853839, two SNPs in intron 2, rs179019 and rs179010, which were in moderate linkage disequilibrium with each other (r2 = 0.53), showed an association with SLE (rs179019: P = 0.016, odds ratio (OR) 2.02, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.15 to 3.54; rs179010: P = 0.018, OR 1.75, 95% CI 1.10 to 2.80 (both under the recessive model)). Conditional logistic regression analysis revealed that the association of the intronic SNPs and the 3' UTR SNP remained significant after we adjusted them for each other. When only the patients and controls carrying the risk genotypes at the 3' UTR SNPpositionwere analyzed, the risk of SLE was significantly increased when the individuals also carried the risk genotypes at both of the intronic SNPs (P = 0.0043, OR 2.45, 95% CI 1.31 to 4.60). Furthermore, the haplotype containing the intronic risk alleles in addition to the 3' UTR risk allele was associated with SLE under the recessive model (P = 0.016, OR 2.37, 95% CI 1.17 to 4.80), but other haplotypes were not associated with SLE.
Conclusions
The TLR7 intronic SNPs rs179019 and rs179010 are associated with SLE independently of the 3' UTR SNP rs3853839 in Japanese women. Our findings support a role of TLR7 in predisposition for SLE in Asian populations.
doi:10.1186/ar3277
PMCID: PMC3132023  PMID: 21396113
18.  A Comprehensive Analysis of Shared Loci between Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) and Sixteen Autoimmune Diseases Reveals Limited Genetic Overlap 
PLoS Genetics  2011;7(12):e1002406.
In spite of the well-known clustering of multiple autoimmune disorders in families, analyses of specific shared genes and polymorphisms between systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and other autoimmune diseases (ADs) have been limited. Therefore, we comprehensively tested autoimmune variants for association with SLE, aiming to identify pleiotropic genetic associations between these diseases. We compiled a list of 446 non–Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) variants identified in genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of populations of European ancestry across 17 ADs. We then tested these variants in our combined Caucasian SLE cohorts of 1,500 cases and 5,706 controls. We tested a subset of these polymorphisms in an independent Caucasian replication cohort of 2,085 SLE cases and 2,854 controls, allowing the computation of a meta-analysis between all cohorts. We have uncovered novel shared SLE loci that passed multiple comparisons adjustment, including the VTCN1 (rs12046117, P = 2.02×10−06) region. We observed that the loci shared among the most ADs include IL23R, OLIG3/TNFAIP3, and IL2RA. Given the lack of a universal autoimmune risk locus outside of the MHC and variable specificities for different diseases, our data suggests partial pleiotropy among ADs. Hierarchical clustering of ADs suggested that the most genetically related ADs appear to be type 1 diabetes with rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease with ulcerative colitis. These findings support a relatively distinct genetic susceptibility for SLE. For many of the shared GWAS autoimmune loci, we found no evidence for association with SLE, including IL23R. Also, several established SLE loci are apparently not associated with other ADs, including the ITGAM-ITGAX and TNFSF4 regions. This study represents the most comprehensive evaluation of shared autoimmune loci to date, supports a relatively distinct non–MHC genetic susceptibility for SLE, provides further evidence for previously and newly identified shared genes in SLE, and highlights the value of studies of potentially pleiotropic genes in autoimmune diseases.
Author Summary
It is well known that multiple autoimmune disorders cluster in families. However, all of the genetic variants that explain this clustering have not been discovered, and the specific genetic variants shared between systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and other autoimmune diseases (ADs) are not known. In order to better understand the genetic factors that explain this predisposition to autoimmunity, we performed a comprehensive evaluation of shared autoimmune genetic variants. First we considered results from 17 ADs and compiled a list with 446 significant genetic variants from these studies. We identified some genetic variants extensively shared between ADs, as well as the ADs that share the most variants. The genetic overlap between SLE and other ADs was modest. Next we tested how important all the 446 genetic variants were in our collection with a minimum of 1,500 SLE patients. Among the most significant variants in SLE, the majority had already been identified in previous studies, but we also discovered variants in two important immune genes. In summary, our data identified diseases with common genetic risk factors and novel SLE effects, and this supports a relatively distinct genetic susceptibility for SLE. This study helps delineate the genetic architecture of ADs.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1002406
PMCID: PMC3234215  PMID: 22174698
19.  Mannan‐binding lectin and complement C4A in Icelandic multicase families with systemic lupus erythematosus 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2006;65(11):1462-1467.
Objective
To determine whether low mannan‐binding lectin (MBL) and C4A null alleles (C4AQ0) are associated with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in multicase families with SLE.
Methods
Low MBL level was determined by measuring serum levels and by genotyping for mutant structural (B/C/D, designated as 0) and promoter (LX) alleles (by real‐time polymerase chain reaction). C4AQ0 was detected by protein electrophoresis and corroborated with haplotype and genotype analysis. In nine Icelandic families, 24 patients with SLE were compared with 83 first‐degree and 23 second‐degree relatives without SLE. Twenty four unrelated family members and a population group of 330 Icelanders served as controls.
Results
Overall, the frequency of low MBL genotypes (0/0, LX/0 and wild‐type/0) tended to be higher in patients with SLE than in their first‐degree and second‐degree relatives (p = 0.06), but the frequency was similar in the families and in the controls (p = 0.6). The frequency of C4AQ0 was, however, increased in patients and their relatives compared with that in the controls (p = 0.04). The combination of low MBL genotypes and C4AQ0 was found more often in the patients than in their relatives (p = 0.03) and controls (p = 0.02). However, low MBL level was observed only in patients and first‐degree relatives in five of the nine multicase families. In these five families, patients with SLE had low MBL genotypes more often (64%) than their first‐degree (38%) and second‐degree (0%) relatives (p = 0.001), and the patients with SLE also had, accordingly, lower MBL levels than their relatives (p = 0.001).
Conclusions
These findings indicate that low MBL levels can predispose people to SLE and highlight the genetic heterogeneity of this disease.
doi:10.1136/ard.2005.046086
PMCID: PMC1798340  PMID: 16439442
20.  Preferential Binding to Elk-1 by SLE-Associated IL10 Risk Allele Upregulates IL10 Expression 
PLoS Genetics  2013;9(10):e1003870.
Immunoregulatory cytokine interleukin-10 (IL-10) is elevated in sera from patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) correlating with disease activity. The established association of IL10 with SLE and other autoimmune diseases led us to fine map causal variant(s) and to explore underlying mechanisms. We assessed 19 tag SNPs, covering the IL10 gene cluster including IL19, IL20 and IL24, for association with SLE in 15,533 case and control subjects from four ancestries. The previously reported IL10 variant, rs3024505 located at 1 kb downstream of IL10, exhibited the strongest association signal and was confirmed for association with SLE in European American (EA) (P = 2.7×10−8, OR = 1.30), but not in non-EA ancestries. SNP imputation conducted in EA dataset identified three additional SLE-associated SNPs tagged by rs3024505 (rs3122605, rs3024493 and rs3024495 located at 9.2 kb upstream, intron 3 and 4 of IL10, respectively), and SLE-risk alleles of these SNPs were dose-dependently associated with elevated levels of IL10 mRNA in PBMCs and circulating IL-10 protein in SLE patients and controls. Using nuclear extracts of peripheral blood cells from SLE patients for electrophoretic mobility shift assays, we identified specific binding of transcription factor Elk-1 to oligodeoxynucleotides containing the risk (G) allele of rs3122605, suggesting rs3122605 as the most likely causal variant regulating IL10 expression. Elk-1 is known to be activated by phosphorylation and nuclear localization to induce transcription. Of interest, phosphorylated Elk-1 (p-Elk-1) detected only in nuclear extracts of SLE PBMCs appeared to increase with disease activity. Co-expression levels of p-Elk-1 and IL-10 were elevated in SLE T, B cells and monocytes, associated with increased disease activity in SLE B cells, and were best downregulated by ERK inhibitor. Taken together, our data suggest that preferential binding of activated Elk-1 to the IL10 rs3122605-G allele upregulates IL10 expression and confers increased risk for SLE in European Americans.
Author Summary
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), a debilitating autoimmune disease characterized by the production of pathogenic autoantibodies, has a strong genetic basis. Variants of the IL10 gene, which encodes cytokine interleukin-10 (IL-10) with known function of promoting B cell hyperactivity and autoantibody production, are associated with SLE and other autoimmune diseases, and serum IL-10 levels are elevated in SLE patients correlating with increased disease activity. In this study, to discover SLE-predisposing causal variant(s), we assessed variants within the genomic region containing IL10 and its gene family member IL19, IL20 and IL24 for association with SLE in case and control subjects from diverse ancestries. We identified SLE-associated SNP rs3122605 located at 9.2 kb upstream of IL10 as the most likely causal variant in subjects of European ancestry. The SLE-risk allele of rs3122605 was dose-dependently associated with elevated IL10 expression at both mRNA and protein levels in peripheral blood samples from SLE patients and controls, which could be explained, at least in part, by its preferential binding to Elk-1, a transcription factor activated in B cells during active disease of SLE patients. Elk-1-mediated IL-10 overexpression could be downregulated by inhibiting activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases, suggesting a potential therapeutic target for SLE.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1003870
PMCID: PMC3794920  PMID: 24130510
21.  Depression and anxiety and their association with healthcare utilization in pediatric lupus and mixed connective tissue disease patients: a cross-sectional study 
Background
Depression and anxiety adversely affects outcomes in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and healthcare utilization is high for pediatric SLE. We aimed to characterize the prevalence of depression and anxiety in pediatric SLE, and their association with healthcare utilization.
Methods
We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of pediatric SLE and mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD) subjects and healthy controls aged 8 years and above. We used the Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (PHQ-9) and the Screen for Childhood Anxiety Related Disorders (SCARED) to identify depression, suicidal ideation and anxiety symptoms, respectively. We compared symptom prevalence in SLE/MCTD and healthy subjects using logistic regression. For SLE/MCTD subjects, we calculated the rate of annual outpatient visits [rheumatology/nephrology, primary care provider (PCP) and emergency department], hospitalizations and rheumatology/nephrology telephone consultations in the preceding year. We compared these outcomes in those with and without depression and anxiety using negative binomial regression.
Results
We identified depression symptoms in 10 (20%) SLE/MCTD and 4 (8%) healthy subjects, representing a trend towards increased prevalence in unadjusted analysis (OR = 2.9, 95% CI 0.8-9.9, p = 0.09). Adjusted analysis did not show a significant difference; however, non-white race was a statistically significant independent risk factor for depression symptoms compared to white race (OR = 5.4, 95% CI 1.1-27.2, p = 0.04). We identified anxiety symptoms in 11 (22%) SLE/MCTD and 13 (26%) healthy subjects, which was not statistically different. Suicidal ideation was present in 7 (14%) SLE/MCTD and 2 (4%) healthy subjects, which was a statistically significant difference (OR = 5.4, 95% CI 1.02-28.3, p = 0.047). Of the 34% of SLE/MCTD subjects with any symptoms, only 24% had previous mental health care. Those with depression symptoms had a statistically significant lower rate of visits to the PCP (IRR = 0.38, 95% CI 0.19-0.76, p < 0.001). Anxiety symptoms were not associated with the healthcare utilization outcomes.
Conclusions
Depression and anxiety symptoms were prevalent, and suicidal ideation significantly more common in SLE/MCTD than in healthy subjects. Non-white race was an independent risk factor for depression. Despite prevalent symptoms, there were poor rates of prior mental health treatment, and less frequent PCP visits among those with depression symptoms. Further investigation of barriers to mental health care and interventional strategies for symptomatic youth with SLE/MCTD is needed.
doi:10.1186/1546-0096-12-42
PMCID: PMC4169806  PMID: 25242900
Systemic lupus erythematosus; Pediatric; Depression; Anxiety; Suicide; Healthcare utilization
22.  Adolescent onset of lupus results in more aggressive disease and worse outcomes: results of a nested matched case—control study within LUMINA, a multiethnic US cohort (LUMINA LVII) 
Lupus  2008;17(4):314.
The objective of this study is to examine the clinical features and outcomes of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) whose disease began in adolescence [juvenile-onset SLE (jSLE)] compared with adult-onset patients [adult-onset SLE (aSLE)] from a large multiethnic cohort. Systemic lupus erythematosus patients of African-American, Caucasian, or Hispanic ethnicity and ≥1 year follow-up were studied in two groups: jSLE (diagnosed at ≤18 years); aSLE (diagnosed at 19–50 years; matched for gender and disease duration at enrolment). Sociodemographic data, SLE manifestations, disease activity, damage accrual, SLE-related hospitalizations or emergency room visits, drug utilization, mortality and psychosocial characteristics and quality of life were compared. Data were analysed by univariable and multivariable analyses. Seventy-nine patients were studied (31 jSLE, 48 aSLE); 90% were women. Mean (SD) total disease duration was 6.8 (2.7) years in jSLE and 5.6 (3.3) years in aSLE (p = 0.077). Mean age at cohort entry was 18.4 (1.8) and 33.9 (9.2) years in jSLE and aSLE respectively. By univariable analysis, jSLE patients were more commonly of African-American descent, were more likely to have renal and neurological involvements, and to accrue renal damage; jSLE patients had lower levels of helplessness and scored higher in the physical component measure of the SF-36 than aSLE patients. Renal involvement [OR = 1.549, 95% CI (1.397–15.856)] and neurological involvement [OR = 1.642, 95% CI (1.689–15.786)] were independently associated with jSLE by multivariable analysis. There was a larger proportion of African-Americans within the jSLE group. After adjusting for ethnicity and follow-up time, jSLE patients experienced more renal and neurological manifestations, with more renal damage. There was a two-fold higher mortality rate in the jSLE group.
doi:10.1177/0961203307087875
PMCID: PMC2818044  PMID: 18413413
juvenile-onset SLE; outcome
23.  Patterns and influence of familial autoimmunity in pediatric systemic lupus erythematosus 
Background
A high prevalence of autoimmune disease (AD) has been documented in relatives of adult patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). However, data on familial inheritance patterns in pediatric SLE patients is scarce.
Findings
The charts of 69 patients with pediatric-onset SLE were reviewed retrospectively. The primary aim was to describe the prevalence and types of AD in relatives of children with SLE. The secondary aims were: 1) to compare severity of SLE in children with and without relatives affected by AD, and 2) to evaluate the impact of baseline demographics on severity of SLE in subjects. At diagnosis, 42% of subjects had one or more first, second, or third degree relative(s) with AD; and 32% of subjects had one or more first degree relative(s) with AD. The most common diseases in relatives of children with SLE were SLE (21%) and thyroid disease (15%). Subjects with no family history of AD were more likely to have severe SLE. SLE severity in subjects did not differ by gender. Children presenting with SLE at an earlier age were found to have more severe disease.
Conclusions
This study demonstrated a high prevalence of AD in families of children with SLE, although a family history of AD did not correlate with more severe SLE in subjects. Future larger studies are necessary to elucidate patterns of familial inheritance and baseline patient characteristics that may affect severity of disease in pediatric SLE.
doi:10.1186/1546-0096-10-22
PMCID: PMC3542590  PMID: 22891746
Pediatric systemic lupus erythematosus; Severity; Inheritance patterns
24.  Increased Risk of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus in 29,000 Patients with Biopsy-verified Celiac Disease 
The Journal of rheumatology  2012;39(10):1964-1970.
Objective
To investigate a possible association between celiac disease (CD) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Case series have indicated a possible association, but population-based studies are lacking.
Methods
We compared the risk of SLE in 29,048 individuals with biopsy-verified CD (villous atrophy, Marsh 3) from Sweden’s 28 pathology departments with that in 144,352 matched individuals from the general population identified through the Swedish Total Population Register. SLE was defined as having at least 2 records of SLE in the Swedish Patient Register. We used Cox regression to estimate hazard ratios (HR) for SLE.
Results
During followup, 54 individuals with CD had an incident SLE. This corresponded to an HR of 3.49 (95% CI 2.48–4.90), with an absolute risk of 17/100,000 person-years and an excess risk of 12/100,000. Beyond 5 years of followup, the HR for SLE was 2.54 (95% CI 1.57–4.10). While SLE was predominantly female, we found similar risk estimates in men and women. When we restricted our outcome to individuals who also had a dispensation for a medication used in SLE, the HR was 2.43 (95% CI 1.22–4.87). The HR for having 2 records of SLE diagnoses, out of which at least 1 had occurred in a department of rheumatology, nephrology/dialysis, internal medicine, or pediatrics, was 2.87 (95% CI 1.97–4.17).
Conclusion
Individuals with CD were at a 3-fold increased risk of SLE compared to the general population. Although this excess risk remained more than 5 years after CD diagnosis, absolute risks were low.
doi:10.3899/jrheum.120493
PMCID: PMC3463642  PMID: 22859356
AUTOIMMUNE; CELIAC; GLUTEN; SYSTEMIC LUPUS ERYTHEMATOSUS
25.  Further Evidence of Subphenotype Association with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Susceptibility Loci: A European Cases Only Study 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e45356.
Introduction
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) shows a spectrum of clinical manifestations that complicate its diagnosis, treatment and research. This variability is likely related with environmental exposures and genetic factors among which known SLE susceptibility loci are prime candidates. The first published analyses seem to indicate that this is the case for some of them, but results are still inconclusive and we aimed to further explore this question.
Methods
European SLE patients, 1444, recruited at 17 centres from 10 countries were analyzed. Genotypes for 26 SLE associated SNPs were compared between patients with and without each of 11 clinical features: ten of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) classification criteria (except ANAs) and age of disease onset. These analyses were adjusted for centre of recruitment, top ancestry informative markers, gender and time of follow-up. Overlap of samples with previous studies was excluded for assessing replication.
Results
There were three new associations: the SNPs in XKR6 and in FAM167A-BLK were associated with lupus nephritis (OR = 0.76 and 1.30, Pcorr = 0.007 and 0.03, respectively) and the SNP of MECP2, which is in chromosome X, with earlier age of disease onset in men. The previously reported association of STAT4 with early age of disease onset was replicated. Some other results were suggestive of the presence of additional associations. Together, the association signals provided support to some previous findings and to the characterization of lupus nephritis, autoantibodies and age of disease onset as the clinical features more associated with SLE loci.
Conclusion
Some of the SLE loci shape the disease phenotype in addition to increase susceptibility to SLE. This influence is more prominent for some clinical features than for others. However, results are only partially consistent between studies and subphenotype specific GWAS are needed to unravel their genetic component.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0045356
PMCID: PMC3458859  PMID: 23049788

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