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1.  Association of CD247 Polymorphisms with Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Replication Study and a Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e68295.
Given the role of CD247 in the response of the T cells, its entailment in autoimmune diseases and in order to better clarify the role of this gene in RA susceptibility, we aimed to analyze CD247 gene variants previously associated with other autoimmune diseases (rs1052237, rs2056626 and rs864537) in a large independent European Caucasian population. However, no evidence of association was found for the analyzed CD247 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with RA and with the presence/absence of anti-cyclic citrullinated polypeptide. We performed a meta-analysis including previously published GWAS data from the rs864537 variant, revealing an overall genome-wide significant association between this CD247 SNP and RA with anti-CCP (OR = 0.90, CI 95% = 0.87–0.93, Poverall = 2.1×10−10). Our results show for first time a GWAS-level association between this CD247 polymorphism and RA risk.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0068295
PMCID: PMC3702579  PMID: 23861880
2.  Association of the AIRE gene with susceptibility to rheumatoid arthritis in a European population: a case control study 
Introduction
AIRE is a transcriptional regulator playing a functional role in thymocyte education and negative selection by controlling the expression of peripheral antigens in the thymus. Recently, the AIRE gene was identified as a genetic risk factor for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in genome wide association (GWA) studies performed in the Japanese population. According to the available data this association is restricted to the Asian population. However, different facts could influence the lack of association in Caucasian populations. The aim of this study was to further investigate the possible role of the AIRE gene in susceptibility to RA in a Caucasian population.
Methods
A total of 472 Spanish Caucasian RA patients and 475 ethnically matched controls were included in the study. Three single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (rs2776377, rs878081 and rs1055311) with a minor allele frequency >0.05 in the Caucasian population which were not included in the high-throughput platforms used in the GWA studies performed in susceptibility to RA, and two SNPs (rs2075876 and rs1800520) associated with RA in the Japanese population, were selected and genotyped using TaqMan assays.
Results
No significant differences in the distribution of the alleles of rs2776377, rs2075876, rs1055311 and rs1800520 SNPs between RA patients and controls were observed. Nevertheless, the frequency of the C allele of rs878081 was significantly higher among RA patients (80.5% vs. 74.6% in the control group, pc = 0.012, OR = 1.41, 95%CI 1.13-1.75). Regarding the distribution of the rs878081 genotypes, a higher frequency of CC homozygous individuals was found in the RA patient group (65.56% vs. 56.47% in the control group, pc = 0.013, OR = 1.47, 95%CI 1.12-1.93). The in silico analysis predicted lower affinity to the binding-site of a motif of the transcription NF-κB family and lower transcription levels of AIRE gene for the rs878081C risk variant
Conclusions
Our findings suggest that the AIRE gene is associated with susceptibility to RA in the Spanish population. Probably, this association has not been detected in the European population in the GWA studies because the earliest high-throughput platforms did not include SNP suitable markers (e.g. rs878081).
doi:10.1186/ar4141
PMCID: PMC3672784  PMID: 23320549
3.  Study of Association of CD40-CD154 Gene Polymorphisms with Disease Susceptibility and Cardiovascular Risk in Spanish Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e49214.
Objective
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease associated with increased cardiovascular (CV) mortality. Since CD40-CD154 binding has direct consequences on inflammation process initiation, we aimed to replicate previous findings related to disease susceptibility in Spanish RA population. Furthermore, as the major complication in RA disease patients is the development of CV events due to accelerated atherosclerosis, and elevated levels of CD40L/CD154 are present in patients with acute myocardial infarction, we assessed the potential association of CD40 and CD154/CD40L gene variants with CV risk in Spanish RA patients.
Methods
One thousand five hundred and seventy-five patients fulfilling the 1987 ACR classification criteria for RA and 1600 matched controls were genotyped for the CD40 rs1883832, rs4810485 and rs1535045 and CD154 rs3092952 and rs3092920 gene polymorphisms, using predesigned TaqMan single nucleotide polymorphism genotyping assays. Afterwards, we investigated the influence of CD40-CD154 gene variants in the development of CV events. Also, in a subgroup of 273 patients without history of CV events, we assessed the influence of these polymorphisms in the risk of subclinical atherosclerosis determined by carotid ultrasonography.
Results
Nominally significant differences in the allele frequencies for the rs1883832 CD40 gene polymorphism between RA patients and controls were found (p = 0.038). Although we did not observe a significant association of CD40-CD154 gene variants with the development of CV events, an ANCOVA model adjusted for sex, age at the time of the ultrasonography assessment, follow-up time, traditional CV risk factors and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies disclosed a significant association (p = 0.0047) between CD40 rs1535045 polymorphism and carotid intima media thickness, a surrogate marker of atherosclerosis.
Conclusion
Data from our pilot study indicate a potential association of rs1883832 CD40 gene polymorphism with susceptibility to RA. Also, the CD40 rs1535045 gene variant may influence development of subclinical atherosclerosis in RA patients.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0049214
PMCID: PMC3499567  PMID: 23166616
4.  Analysis of the association between CD40 and CD40 ligand polymorphisms and systemic sclerosis 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2012;14(3):R154.
Introduction
The aim of the present study was to investigate the possible role of CD40 and CD40 ligand (CD40LG) genes in the susceptibility and phenotype expression of systemic sclerosis (SSc).
Methods
In total, 2,670 SSc patients and 3,245 healthy individuals from four European populations (Spain, Germany, The Netherlands, and Italy) were included in the study. Five single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of CD40 (rs1883832, rs4810485, rs1535045) and CD40LG (rs3092952, rs3092920) were genotyped by using a predesigned TaqMan allele-discrimination assay technology. Meta-analysis was assessed to determine whether an association exists between the genetic variants and SSc or its main clinical subtypes.
Results
No evidence of association between CD40 and CD40LG genes variants and susceptibility to SSc was observed. Similarly, no significant statistical differences were observed when SSc patients were stratified by the clinical subtypes, the serologic features, and pulmonary fibrosis.
Conclusions
Our results do not suggest an important role of CD40 and CD40LG gene polymorphisms in the susceptibility to or clinical expression of SSc.
doi:10.1186/ar3890
PMCID: PMC3446540  PMID: 22731751
5.  Association of acid phosphatase locus 1*C allele with the risk of cardiovascular events in rheumatoid arthritis patients 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2011;13(4):R116.
Introduction
Acid phosphatase locus 1 (ACP1) encodes a low molecular weight phosphotyrosine phosphatase implicated in a number of different biological functions in the cell. The aim of this study was to determine the contribution of ACP1 polymorphisms to susceptibility to rheumatoid arthritis (RA), as well as the potential contribution of these polymorphisms to the increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CV) observed in RA patients.
Methods
A set of 1,603 Spanish RA patients and 1,877 healthy controls were included in the study. Information related to the presence/absence of CV events was obtained from 1,284 of these participants. All individuals were genotyped for four ACP1 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), rs10167992, rs11553742, rs7576247, and rs3828329, using a predesigned TaqMan SNP genotyping assay. Classical ACP1 alleles (*A, *B and *C) were imputed with SNP data.
Results
No association between ACP1 gene polymorphisms and susceptibility to RA was observed. However, when RA patients were stratified according to the presence or absence of CV events, an association between rs11553742*T and CV events was found (P = 0.012, odds ratio (OR) = 2.62 (1.24 to 5.53)). Likewise, the ACP1*C allele showed evidence of association with CV events in patients with RA (P = 0.024, OR = 2.43).
Conclusions
Our data show that the ACP1*C allele influences the risk of CV events in patients with RA.
doi:10.1186/ar3401
PMCID: PMC3239354  PMID: 21767392
7.  CD40: Novel Association with Crohn's Disease and Replication in Multiple Sclerosis Susceptibility 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(7):e11520.
Background
A functional polymorphism located at −1 from the start codon of the CD40 gene, rs1883832, was previously reported to disrupt a Kozak sequence essential for translation. It has been consistently associated with Graves' disease risk in populations of different ethnicity and genetic proxies of this variant evaluated in genome-wide association studies have shown evidence of an effect in rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis (MS) susceptibility. However, the protective allele associated with Graves' disease or rheumatoid arthritis has shown a risk role in MS, an effect that we aimed to replicate in the present work. We hypothesized that this functional polymorphism might also show an association with other complex autoimmune condition such as inflammatory bowel disease, given the CD40 overexpression previously observed in Crohn's disease (CD) lesions.
Methodology
Genotyping of rs1883832C>T was performed in 1564 MS, 1102 CD and 969 ulcerative colitis (UC) Spanish patients and in 2948 ethnically matched controls by TaqMan chemistry.
Principal Findings
The observed effect of the minor allele rs1883832T was replicated in our independent Spanish MS cohort [p = 0.025; OR (95% CI) = 1.12 (1.01–1.23)]. The frequency of the minor allele was also significantly higher in CD patients than in controls [p = 0.002; OR (95% CI) = 1.19 (1.06–1.33)]. This increased predisposition was not detected in UC patients [p = 0.5; OR (95% CI) = 1.04 (0.93–1.17)].
Conclusion
The impact of CD40 rs1883832 on MS and CD risk points to a common signaling shared by these autoimmune conditions.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0011520
PMCID: PMC2902513  PMID: 20634952

Results 1-7 (7)