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Lupus. 2019 Apr;28(4):545-554. doi: 10.1177/0961203319834677. Epub 2019 Mar 11.

Impact of functional IL-18 polymorphisms on genetic predisposition and diverse clinical manifestations of the disease in Indian SLE patients.

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1 National Institute of Immunohaematology, Indian Council of Medical Research, Mumbai, India.
2 Arthritis and Clinical Immunology Research Program, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Oklahoma City, United States of America.
3 Department of Rheumatology, King Edward Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, India.


Several studies have demonstrated associations between interleukin-18 polymorphisms and risk of systemic lupus erythematosus in different populations except one of Indian origin. We therefore investigated for the influence of interleukin-18 (-1297T/C, -607A/C, -137G/C; + 105A/C) polymorphisms on genetic susceptibility and clinical expression of the disease in Indian systemic lupus erythematosus patients. A total of 200 systemic lupus erythematosus patients and 201 controls were recruited. Genotyping of interleukin-18 polymorphisms were performed by polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism. Serum interleukin-18 levels were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Interleukin-18 (-1297T/C; -137G/C) polymorphisms showed significant association with genetic susceptibility to the disease in our systemic lupus erythematosus cohort. Stratification analysis revealed -1297CC and -1297C associated with renal involvement (odds ratio = 3.4, correcting p value = 0.0207), (odds ratio = 2.0, correcting p value = 0.0054) respectively. Additionally, -1297C allele frequency was significantly increased in patients with anti-nucleosome antibody (odds ratio = 2.1, correcting p value = 0.0301). Haplotype analysis showed CC haplotype strongly associated with serositis (odds ratio = 9.1, correcting p values = 0.0009) and neurologic involvement (odds ratio = 9.3, correcting p value = 0.0018). We reported a 2.7-fold increase in serum interleukin-18 levels in patients (511.5 ± 242.3 pg/ml) compared to controls (189.4 ± 80.8 pg/ml) ( p < 0.0001). Furthermore, interleukin-18 levels were positively correlated with disease activity ( r = 0.548, p = 0.0001) and renal involvement in the patients with lupus nephritis ( r = 0.569, p < 0.0001). In summary, interleukin-18 polymorphisms elucidated in this study appear to confer genetic susceptibility to the disease and are associated with renal, serositis and neurologic involvement in Indian systemic lupus erythematosus patients.


Indian systemic lupus erythematosus; Interleukin-18 polymorphisms; pro-inflammatory cytokines


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