Association of a functional polymorphism in the IRF5 region with systemic sclerosis in a Japanese population

Arthritis Rheum. 2009 Jun;60(6):1845-50. doi: 10.1002/art.24600.


Objective: Interferon regulatory factor 5, an established susceptibility factor for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), plays a role in type I interferon and proinflammatory cytokine induction. A recent study showed association of a functional single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in intron 1 of IRF5, rs2004640, with systemic sclerosis (SSc) in a European French population. We undertook the present study to determine whether IRF5 polymorphisms are also associated with a predisposition to SSc in Japanese.

Methods: A case-control association study was performed for rs2004640 as well as for rs10954213 and rs2280714, all of which were previously reported to be associated with SLE, in 281 SSc patients and 477 healthy controls. Patients with SSc complicated by SLE or Sjögren's syndrome were excluded. Association of the rs2280714 genotype with messenger RNA (mRNA) levels of IRF5 and adjacently located transportin 3 (TNPO3) was examined using the GENEVAR database.

Results: All 3 SNPs were significantly associated with SSc, with the rs2280714 A allele having the strongest association (allele frequency P=0.0012, odds ratio 1.42 [95% confidence interval 1.15-1.75]). Association was preferentially observed in subsets of patients with diffuse cutaneous SSc (dcSSc) and anti-topoisomerase I antibody positivity. Conditional analysis revealed that rs2280714 could account for most of the association of these SNPs, while an additional contribution of rs2004640 was also suggested for dcSSc. The genotype of rs2280714 was strongly associated with IRF5 mRNA expression, while only marginal association was detected with TNPO3 mRNA expression.

Conclusion: Association of IRF5 with SSc was replicated in a Japanese population. Whether the causal SNP is different among populations requires further investigation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Gene Frequency / genetics
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / genetics
  • Genotype
  • Haplotypes / genetics
  • Humans
  • Interferon Regulatory Factors / genetics*
  • Japan
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide / genetics*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / ethnology*
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / genetics*


  • IRF5 protein, human
  • Interferon Regulatory Factors
  • RNA, Messenger