Rare coding variants in NOX4 link high ROS levels to psoriatic arthritis mutilans

EMBO Mol Med. 2024 Mar;16(3):596-615. doi: 10.1038/s44321-024-00035-z. Epub 2024 Feb 20.


Psoriatic arthritis mutilans (PAM) is the rarest and most severe form of psoriatic arthritis, characterized by erosions of the small joints and osteolysis leading to joint disruption. Despite its severity, the underlying mechanisms are unknown, and no susceptibility genes have hitherto been identified. We aimed to investigate the genetic basis of PAM by performing massive parallel sequencing in sixty-one patients from the PAM Nordic cohort. We found rare variants in the NADPH oxidase 4 (NOX4) in four patients. In silico predictions show that the identified variants are potentially damaging. NOXs are the only enzymes producing reactive oxygen species (ROS). NOX4 is specifically involved in the differentiation of osteoclasts, the cells implicated in bone resorption. Functional follow-up studies using cell culture, zebrafish models, and measurement of ROS in patients uncovered that these NOX4 variants increase ROS levels both in vitro and in vivo. We propose NOX4 as the first candidate susceptibility gene for PAM. Our study links high levels of ROS caused by NOX4 variants to the development of PAM, offering a potential therapeutic target.

Keywords: Hydrogen Peroxide; NADPH Oxidase 4 (NOX4); Osteoclast Differentiation; Psoriatic Arthritis Mutilans; Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS).

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arthritis, Psoriatic* / drug therapy
  • Arthritis, Psoriatic* / genetics
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Humans
  • NADPH Oxidase 4 / genetics
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Zebrafish


  • NADPH Oxidase 4
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • NOX4 protein, human