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Clin Exp Rheumatol. 1999 Nov-Dec;17(6):725-9.

Cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen 4 (CTLA-4) dimorphism in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus.

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Medical Clinic II, Martin Faculty Hospital, Jessenius Medical Faculty, Martin, Slovak Republic.



Genetic susceptibility to systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is conferred not only by various genes within the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) region, but also by several other non-MHC linked genes. The negatively signalling molecule CTLA-4 is involved in establishing and maintaining of peripheral T cell tolerance, which controls T cell activation and reactivity. Its attenuating action helps to prevent an inappropriate initiation of T cell responses to self antigens and to terminate ongoing T cell responses. We tested if there was an association between CTLA-4 and SLE, a disease with B and T cell hyperreactivity and impaired peripheral T cell tolerance.


Using the polymerase chain reaction--restriction fragment length polymorphism method with Bbv I digestion, we assessed an exon 1 transition dimorphism (49 A/G) of the CTLA-4 gene in 102 SLE patients and in 76 healthy controls.


The distribution of CTLA-4 exon 1 genotypes in the SLE group was significantly different from that in the controls (chi 2 = 6.178, p < 0.05). 17.6% of the SLE patients were G/G homozygotes compared to 5.3% of the controls; 36.3% were A/G heterozygotes vs 40.8% of controls; and 46.1% were A/A homozygotes vs 53.9% of the controls. The frequency of the G allele was significantly higher in SLE patients (35.8%) than in controls (25.7%; chi 2 = 4.142, p = 0.042).


Our results indicate that the non-MHC linked CTLA-4 gene could confer susceptibility in SLE, as it does in various other autoimmune diseases (Hashimoto thyroiditis, Graves' disease, IDDM).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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