Meta-analysis of GWAS on two Chinese populations followed by replication identifies novel genetic variants on the X chromosome associated with systemic lupus erythematosus

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Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a prototypic autoimmune disease that affects mainly females. What role the X chromosome plays in the disease has always been an intriguing question. In this study, we examined the genetic variants on the X chromosome through meta-analysis of two genome-wide association studies (GWAS) on SLE on Chinese Han populations. Prominent association signals from the meta-analysis were replicated in 4 additional Asian cohorts, with a total of 5373 cases and 9166 matched controls. We identified a novel variant in PRPS2 on Xp22.3 as associated with SLE with genome-wide significance (rs7062536, OR = 0.84, P = 1.00E−08). Association of the L1CAM-MECP2 region with SLE was reported previously. In this study, we identified independent contributors in this region in NAA10 (rs2071128, OR = 0.81, P = 2.19E−13) and TMEM187 (rs17422, OR = 0.75, P = 1.47E−15), in addition to replicating the association from IRAK1-MECP2 region (rs1059702, OR = 0.71, P = 2.40E−18) in Asian cohorts. The X-linked susceptibility variants showed higher effect size in males than that in females, similar to results from a genome-wide survey of associated SNPs on the autosomes. These results suggest that susceptibility genes identified on the X chromosome, while contributing to disease predisposition, might not contribute significantly to the female predominance of this prototype autoimmune disease.

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