Specificity of the STAT4 Genetic Association for Severe Disease Manifestations of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Rosalind Russell Medical Research Center for Arthritis, University of California San Francisco, California, USA.
PLoS Genetics (Impact Factor: 7.53). 05/2008; 4(5):e1000084. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1000084
Source: PubMed


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 (r(2) = 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.

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Available from: Sharon A Chung
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    • "Following activation, human STAT4 binds to regulatory regions of several genes to induce proinflammatory cell-mediated immunity [11]. Interestingly, STAT4 variants are associated with susceptibility to SLE [12] [13] and the STAT4 risk allele is associated with nephritis and antibodies to double-stranded DNA, two clinical features linked to the severity and activity of the disease [14]. Antimalarial drugs (hydroxychloroquine, chloroquine, and quinacrine) have been used for a long time as disease modifying antirheumatic agents in the treatment of SLE and other 1043-4666/Ó 2014 Elsevier Ltd. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives To analyse the influence of IFNα on TNFα production by human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), as well as the possible interference of this cytokine on the effect of antimalarial drugs, TNFα regulators widely used in the treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Methods PBMCs, monocytes or T cells were treated with IFNα alone or simultaneously to cellular stimuli as well as in the presence or absence of chloroquine. Supernatants from such cultures were collected to quantify TNFα by ELISA. TNFα and STAT4 expression in cultured cells were analysed by intracellular flow cytometry. In addition, STAT4 gene expression and serum levels of TNFα and IFNα were quantified in 53 SLE patients and 45 controls. Results IFNα alone did not modify significantly TNFα production, but an increase was observed in stimulated PBMC. Further analyses showed that monocytes were the cellular population responsible for this effect. In addition, IFNα treatment increased STAT4 in stimulated monocytes, suggesting that TNFα upregulation could be mediated by STAT4. On the other hand, the analysis of the antimalarial effect showed that chloroquine was able to inhibit in vitro the expression of TNFα and STAT4 enhanced by IFNα. In antimalarial-treated SLE patients, however, only those with high IFNα serum levels presented lower expression of STAT4. Conclusions IFNα treatment enhances the induction of TNFα and STAT4 in stimulated monocytes, an effect inhibited in vitro by chloroquine treatment. However, the consequence of antimalarial treatment on SLE patients could be different depending on their IFNα serum levels.
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    • "STAT4 rs7574865 is not only associated to SLE susceptibility but with a more severe SLE clinical manifestations, particularly nephritis and the production of autoantibodies against dsDNA. In addition, in this study STAT4 rs7574865 was associated to severe nephritis, renal disease and oral ulcers [159]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is one of the most relevant world-wide autoimmune disorders. The formation of autoantibodies and the deposition of antibody-containing immune complexes in blood vessels throughout the body is the main pathogenic mechanism of SLE leading to heterogeneous clinical manifestations and target tissue damage. The complexity of etiology and pathogenesis in SLE, enclosing genetic and environmental factors, apparently is one of the greatest challenges for both researchers and clinicians. Strong indications for a genetic background in SLE come from studies in families as well as in monozygotic and dizygotic twins, discovering several SLE-associated loci and genes (e.g. IRF5, PTPN22, CTLA4, STAT4 and BANK1). As SLE has a complex genetic background, none of these genes is likely to be entirely responsible for triggering autoimmune response in SLE even if they disclosure a potentially novel molecular mechanisms in the pathogenesis' disease. The clinical manifestations and disease severity varies greatly among patients, thus several studies try to associate clinical heterogeneity and prognosis with specific genetic polymorphisms in SLE associated genes. The continue effort to describe new predisposing or modulating genes in SLE is justified by the limited knowledge about the pathogenesis, assorted clinical manifestation and the possible prevention strategies. In this review we describe newly discovered, as well as the most studied genes associated to SLE susceptibility, and relate them to clinical manifestations of the disease.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2014 · Current Genomics
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    • "Signal transducer and activator of transcription 4 (STAT4) is a transcription factor binding to genes encoding T-bet and IFN-γ and plays a critical role in Th1 and Th17 cell differentiation [68]. Polymorphisms of the STAT4 gene have been associated with various autoimmune diseases [69] [70] [71]; among the polymorphisms tested, the rs7574865 was a candidate common risk polymorphism. In a cohort of Chinese population, the rs7574865 polymorphism was found to pose as a candidate susceptibility gene, with an increased frequency of the T allele and THE TT genotype [67]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Increasing interest on the field of autoimmune diseases has unveiled a plethora of genetic factors that predispose to these diseases. However, in immune-mediated bone marrow failure syndromes, such as acquired aplastic anemia and chronic idiopathic neutropenia, in which the pathophysiology results from a myelosuppressive bone marrow microenvironment mainly due to the presence of activated T lymphocytes, leading to the accelerated apoptotic death of the hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells, such genetic associations have been very limited. Various alleles and haplotypes of human leucocyte antigen (HLA) molecules have been implicated in the predisposition of developing the above diseases, as well as polymorphisms of inhibitory cytokines such as interferon-γ, tumor necrosis factor-α, and transforming growth factor-β1 along with polymorphisms on molecules of the immune system including the T-bet transcription factor and signal transducers and activators of transcription. In some cases, specific polymorphisms have been implicated in the outcome of treatment on those patients.
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