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Genes Immun. 2009 Apr;10(3):219-26. doi: 10.1038/gene.2009.1. Epub 2009 Feb 19.

Population differences in SLE susceptibility genes: STAT4 and BLK, but not PXK, are associated with systemic lupus erythematosus in Hong Kong Chinese.

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Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Queen Mary Hospital, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.


In this study, we compared the association of several newly discovered susceptibility genes for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) between populations of European origin and two Asian populations. Using 910 SLE patients and 1440 healthy controls from Chinese living in Hong Kong, and 278 SLE patients and 383 controls in Thailand, we studied association of STAT4, BLK and PXK with the disease. Our data confirmed association of STAT4 (rs7574865, odds ratio (OR) =1.71, P=3.55 x 10(-23)) and BLK (rs13277113, OR=0.77, P=1.34 x 10(-5)) with SLE. It was showed that rs7574865 of STAT4 is also linked to hematologic disorders and potentially some other subphenotypes of the disease. More than one genetic variant in STAT4 were found to be associated with the disease independently in our populations (rs7601754, OR=0.59, P=1.39 x 10(-9), and P=0.00034 when controlling the effect of rs7574865). With the same set of samples, however, our study did not detect any significant disease association for PXK, a risk factor for populations of European origin (rs6445975, joint P=0.36, OR=1.06, 95% confidence interval: 0.93-1.21). Our study indicates that some of the susceptibility genes for this disease may be population specific.

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