Background Evidence is beginning to emerge that there may be susceptibility loci for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) that are common to both diseases.
Objective To investigate single nucleotide polymorphisms that have been reported to be associated with SLE in a UK cohort of patients with RA and controls.
Methods 3962 patients with RA and 9275 controls were included in the study. Eleven SNPs mapping to confirmed SLE loci were investigated. These mapped to the TNFSF4, BANK1, TNIP1, PTTG1, UHRF1BP1, ATG5, JAZF1, BLK, KIAA1542, ITGAM and UBE2L3 loci. Genotype frequencies were compared between patients with RA and controls using the trend test.
Results The SNPs mapping to the BLK and UBE2L3 loci showed significant evidence for association with RA. Two other SNPs, mapping to ATG5 and KIAA1542, showed nominal evidence for association with RA (p=0.02 and p=0.02, respectively) but these were not significant after applying a Bonferroni correction. Additionally, a significant global enrichment in carriage of SLE alleles in patients with RA compared with controls (p=9.1x10(-7)) was found. Meta-analysis of this and previous studies confirmed the association of the BLK and UBE2L3 gene with RA at genome-wide significance levels (p<5x10(-8)). Together, the authors estimate that the SLE and RA overlapping loci, excluding HLA-DRB1 alleles, identified so far explain similar to 5.8% of the genetic susceptibility to RA as a whole.
Conclusion The findings confirm the association of the BLK and UBE2L3 loci with RA, thus adding to the list of loci showing overlap between RA and SLE.
- genome-wide association
- large-scale replication
- susceptibility locus
- risk locus