Objective: Fc receptors for IgG (FcgammaR) play a prominent role in the clearance of immune complexes in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Polymorphisms of FcgammaR have been proposed as genetic factors that influence susceptibility to SLE. We analyzed 3 functional FcgammaR polymorphisms in a strictly Caucasian population of SLE patients, and determined the influence of these polymorphisms on the clearance of immune complexes in vivo.
Methods: Genomic DNA was isolated from 230 Caucasian patients with SLE and 154 controls. Amplification of FcgammaR-genomic regions in allotype-specific polymerase chain reactions was used to distinguish the genotypes. In addition, we analyzed the FcgammaR genotypes of 13 patients with SLE who participated in a study determining the half-life of IgG-coated erythrocytes in the blood.
Results: We found a strong trend toward skewing of FcgammaRIIa, with an enrichment of the homozygous FcgammaRIIa-R/R131 genotype in patients compared with controls. We did not find a correlation between this genotype and the development of lupus nephritis. However, we established that the half-life of IgG-coated erythrocytes in the blood was prolonged in patients expressing the FcgammaRIIa-R/R131 genotype. The homozygous FcgammaRIIIa-F/F158 genotype was found more frequently in patients with arthritis and/or serositis.
Conclusion: In Caucasian populations, the R/H polymorphism of FcgammaRIIa is a minor determinant in susceptibility to SLE, whereas the V/F polymorphism of FcgammaRIIIa is associated with a set of disease manifestations. Notably, the R/H polymorphism of FcgammaRIIa affects the clearance of immune complexes in vivo, which may influence the course of a disease such as SLE.