FOXP3, ICOS and ICOSL gene polymorphisms in systemic sclerosis: FOXP3 rs2294020 is associated with disease progression in a female Italian population

Fabio D'Amico, Giovanni Fiorito, Evangelia Skarmoutsou, Mariagrazia Granata, Giulio A. Rossi, Chiara Trovato, Chiara Bellocchi, Maurizio Marchini, Lorenzo Beretta, Maria Clorinda Mazzarino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Systemic sclerosis (SSc), an autoimmune disorder, is characterized by vasculopathy, inflammation, progressive perivascular and interstitial fibrosis. Its pathogenesis is largely unknown, however strong evidences suggest that genetic predisposition may contribute to SSc development.Several gene polymorphisms involved in regulatory T cell function have been identified in many autoimmune diseases, including SSc. Moreover, dysregulation of co-stimulatory and/or co-inhibitory signals, including ICOS signalling, can lead to autoimmunity. The aim of the present study was to investigate the association of the FOXP3 rs2294020, ICOS rs6726035 and ICOSL rs378299 SNPs with both the susceptibility and the progression to SSc in an Italian case-series of patients.SNP genotyping results were successfully obtained from a total of 350 subjects including 166 individuals with SSc and 184 healthy controls. Although analysis tests did not show any significant associations between the SNPs under study and susceptibility to SSc, the occurrence of FOXP3 rs2294020 in female patients was associated with decreased time to progression from early to definite SSc (allelic model: HR = 1.43; CI = 1.03-1.99; p = 0.03; dominant model: HR = 1.54; CI = 1.04-2.28; p = 0.03). The inclusion of presence of ACA autoantibodies in the model did not significantly change the estimates. No conclusions can be drawn for the susceptibility to the disease or the time to progression in men due to the low statistical power. This study provides evidence of the association of rs2294020 with SSc evolution in female patients, modulating the time of progression from the diagnosis of early SSc to the diagnosis of definite SSc, while no effect on SSc susceptibility per se was found. rs2294020 may be considered a disease-modifying gene-variant rather than a disease-susceptibility SNP in SSc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-117
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • FOXP3
  • ICOS
  • Single nucleotide polymorphism
  • Systemic sclerosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Hematology


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