Genetic Mapping of Susceptibility Genes for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a complex autoimmune disease with unknown etiology. The aim of this thesis was to identify susceptibility regions through genetic mapping, using model-based linkage analysis on nuclear and extended SLE multicase families.In the first paper we performed a genome scan on 19 genetically homogenous Icelandic and Swedish families. One region at 2q37 was identified with a significant linkage with contribution from both populations (Z=4.24). Five other regions 2q11, 4p13, 9p22, 9p13 and 9q13 showed suggestive linkage (Z>2.0).In the second paper, 87 families from 10 different countries were analysed only for chromosome 1. One region at 1q31 showed significant linkage (Z=3.79) with contribution from families from all populations, including Mexicans and Europeans. Four other regions 1p36, 1p21, 1q23, and 1q25, showed levels of suggestive linkage. Linkage for most regions was highly dependent on what population was used, which indicated strong genetic heterogeneity in the genetic susceptibility for SLE.In the two last papers, we used the positional candidate gene strategy, in order to investigate candidate genes in two regions linked to SLE. For the Bcl-2 gene (at 18q21) we could not detect any association with SLE using three different markers. However, when we investigated the tightly linked low-affinity family of Fc?R genes (at 1q23), we could find association for two risk alleles in the Fc?RIIA and Fc?RIIIA genes. The risk alleles were transmitted to SLE patients on one specific haplotype and therefore are not independent risk alleles.The results show that model-based linkage analysis is a strong approach in the search for susceptibility genes behind complex diseases like SLE.