Objective. To test the association of osteopontin (OPN) polymorphisms with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Methods. The coding 5′ and 3′ flanking regions of the OPN gene were scanned for polymorphisms by denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography. A case-control association study was performed in 394 Italian SLE patients and 479 matched controls. OPN serum levels were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in 40 patients and 124 controls, and the mean levels were compared between the different OPN genotypes. Results. Among the 13 detected single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), alkies -156G (frequency 0.714 versus 0.651; P = 0.006, corrected P [Pcorr] = 0.036) and +1239C (0.377 versus 0.297; P = 0.00094, Pcorr = 0.0056) were significantly increased in the SLE patients compared with the controls. The presence of the associated allele in single or double dose conferred an odds ratio (OR) of 2.35 (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 1.38-4.02) for SNP -156 and an OR of 1.57 (95% CI 1.16-2.13) for SNP +1239. These effects were independent of each other, i.e., not a consequence of linkage disequilibrium between the 2 alleles. The risk associated with a double dose of susceptibility alleles at both SNPs was 3.8-fold higher (95% CI 2.0-7.4) relative to the complete absence of susceptibility alleles. With regard to individual clinical and immunologic features, a significant association was seen between lymphadenopathy and -156 genotypes (overall P = 0.0011, Pcorr = 0.046). A significantly increased OPN serum level was detected in healthy individuals carrying +1239C (P = 0.002), which is indicative of an association between the SLE susceptibility allele and OPN levels. Conclusion. These data suggest the independent effect of a promoter (-156) and a 3′-untranslated region (+1239) SNP in SLE susceptibility. We can speculate that these sequence variants (or others in perfect linkage disequilibrium) create a predisposition to high production of OPN, and that this in turn may confer susceptibility to SLE.
ASJC Scopus subject areas