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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Jul 26;102(30):10593-7. Epub 2005 Jul 18.

A stop codon polymorphism of Toll-like receptor 5 is associated with resistance to systemic lupus erythematosus.

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Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, 1959 Northeast Pacific Street, Seattle, WA 98105, USA.


Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease with a complex genetic basis that includes susceptibility gene(s) within the chromosome 1q41-1q42 region. Toll-like receptor 5 (TLR5), the innate immune receptor for bacterial flagellin, maps to chromosome 1q41 and contains a common stop codon polymorphism that abrogates signaling (allele C1174T) and is associated with an increased risk of infection. By using transmission disequilibrium testing in a cohort containing 199 affected patients and their 75 unaffected siblings and 326 parents, we found that allele 1174C, but not 1174T (with the stop codon), was preferentially transmitted to SLE-affected offspring (a 19:6 transmitted/not transmitted ratio, P = 0.009). In contrast, the alleles of the other three TLR5 SNPs did not exhibit preferential transmission. In addition, we found that allele 1174C was not preferentially transmitted to unaffected offspring (3:6 transmitted/not transmitted ratio, P value not significant). The allele frequency of 1174T in the probands was 3.2% compared with 5.8% in unaffected individuals, which was consistent with a protective association (odds ratio, 0.51; 95% confidence interval, 0.26-0.98; P = 0.041). Subjects with the TLR5 stop codon produced significantly lower levels of proinflammatory cytokines in comparison with individuals with the wild-type genotype. Together, these results indicate that the TLR5 stop codon polymorphism is associated with protection from the development of SLE. These data support a role for flagellated bacteria and the innate immune response in the development of SLE with implications for novel immunomodulatory treatment strategies.

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