Objective: Lupus nephritis (LN) is a major contributor to morbidity and mortality in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). There is evidence that polymorphisms in the genes of inflammatory mediators may predispose to the development of LN in patients with SLE. In this study, we examined the role of a functional monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1) polymorphism in SLE and LN.
Methods: DNA and paired urine and serum samples were obtained from 134 SLE patients (> or =4 American College of Rheumatology criteria for SLE; 49 with and 85 without LN) and 118 controls. MCP-1 genomic variants were detected by polymerase chain reaction followed by restriction enzyme-fragment analysis. Urinary and serum MCP-1 levels and MCP-1 production by peripheral blood macrophages were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
Results: The A/A genotype was more common in controls than in SLE patients (P = 0.0002), whereas both the A/G (P = 0.009) and G/G (P = 0.0212) genotypes were more frequent in SLE patients. The A/A genotype was observed in only 23% of the patients with LN compared with 58% of those without LN (P < 0.0001). MCP-1 production by peripheral blood mononuclear cells from patients with the A/G and G/G phenotypes was markedly higher than the production by cells from patients with the A/A genotype. Urinary levels of MCP-1 were significantly higher in patients with LN.
Conclusion: These results suggest that an A/G or G/G genotype may predispose to the development of SLE and further indicate that SLE patients with these genotypes may be at higher risk of developing LN. Moreover, measurement of urinary levels of MCP-1 may be a useful tool for the detection and management of LN.