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Kidney Int. 2001 Apr;59(4):1520-8.

Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 gene polymorphism 4G/4G genotype and lupus nephritis in Chinese patients.

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Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, The Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong, China.



Abnormal regulation in the coagulation and fibrinolytic system may play an important role in mediating glomerular damage in lupus nephritis. Indeed, glomerular thrombosis occurs frequently in lupus nephritis and predicts the future development of glomerular sclerosis. In the murine model of active lupus nephritis, plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) gene was overexpressed throughout the kidney, both within the glomeruli and also in tubules and vessels. The level of PAI-1 expression in the tissues appeared to correlate with the progression of lupus nephritis. Recently, a single base pair insertion/deletion 4G/5G polymorphism of the PAI-1 gene has been identified and shown to alter plasma PAI-1 activity. This study was therefore conducted to determine the association of the 4G/5G polymorphism of the PAI-1 gene with the development and severity of lupus nephritis.


The PAI-1 gene polymorphism of 118 systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients and 103 healthy controls who were gender and age matched was determined using standard polymerase chain reaction. PAI-1 genotype results were studied in relationship to the development and severity of lupus nephritis.


Allele frequencies of 4G/5G allele were 0.59/0.41 in lupus patients and 0.59/0.41 in controls (P = 1.000). No significant difference was noted in the genotype distribution between SLE patients with and without nephritis. However, lupus nephritis patients with the 4G4G genotype showed significantly heavier proteinuria (5.0 vs. 3.7 g/day; P = 0.023) when compared with patients with 4G5G and 5G5G genotypes. Also, 73.3% patients with 4G4G had an activity index > or =8 versus 37.3% patients with 4G5G and 5G5G (P = 0.003). Extensive necrotizing lesions were seen in 51.7% patients with 4G4G as compared with 23.5% patients with 4G5G and 5G5G (P = 0.014). The association of the 4G4G gene polymorphism with a higher nephritis activity and more severe necrotizing lesions persisted when only class III and class IV nephritis patients were studied. On the other hand, no significant association was noted between the PAI-1 gene polymorphism and the chronicity of the nephritis.


These findings suggest that the 4G/5G polymorphism of the PAI-1 gene is associated with the activity but not the chronicity of lupus nephritis. The presence of the 4G4G genotype does not increase the risk of developing SLE or lupus nephritis, but predicts the development of higher nephritis activity and more extensive necrotizing lesions.

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