Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from Arthritis Research & Therapy and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

Role of STAT4 polymorphisms in systemic lupus erythematosus in a Japanese population: a case-control association study of the STAT1-STAT4 region

Aya Kawasaki1, Ikue Ito1, Koki Hikami1, Jun Ohashi1, Taichi Hayashi2, Daisuke Goto2, Isao Matsumoto2, Satoshi Ito2, Akito Tsutsumi23, Minori Koga4, Tadao Arinami4, Robert R Graham5, Geoffrey Hom5, Yoshinari Takasaki6, Hiroshi Hashimoto6, Timothy W Behrens5, Takayuki Sumida2 and Naoyuki Tsuchiya1*

Author Affiliations

1 Molecular and Genetic Epidemiology Laboratory, Doctoral Program in Life System Medical Sciences, Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences, University of Tsukuba, 1-1-1 Tennodai, Tsukuba 305-8575, Japan

2 Division of Clinical Immunology, Doctoral Program in Clinical Sciences, Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Science, University of Tsukuba, 1-1-1 Tennodai, Tsukuba 305-8575, Japan

3 Department of Medicine, Takikawa Municipal Hospital, 2-2-34 Omachi, Takikawa 073-0033, Japan

4 Department of Medical Genetics, Doctoral Program in Life System Medical Sciences, Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences, University of Tsukuba, 1-1-1 Tennodai, Tsukuba 305-8575, Japan

5 Genentech, Inc., 1 DNA Way, South San Francisco, CA 94080, USA

6 Division of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine, 2-1-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8421, Japan

For all author emails, please log on.

Arthritis Research & Therapy 2008, 10:R113  doi:10.1186/ar2516

Published: 19 September 2008

Abstract

Introduction

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.

Methods

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.

Results

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%).

Conclusions

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.