Objective: To investigate the association of HLA class II alleles/haplotypes, type I C2 deficiency gene, and tumor necrosis factor a gene promoter allele (TNF2) with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in the Chinese population in Taiwan.
Methods: The HLA-DRB1 and DQB1 alleles were studied in 105 SLE patients and 115 controls by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR)/sequence-specific oligonucleotide probe method, the subtyping of DRB1*15/16 and DRB5 by PCR with sequence-specific primers, type I C2 deficiency gene by PCR, and TNF2 by PCR-Nco I restriction fragment length polymorphism.
Results: The frequencies of the HLA class II alleles DRB1*02, DRB1*1502, DRB5*0102, DQB1*0501, and DQB1*0602 and DR2-associated haplotypes DRB1* 1501,DRB5*0101,DQB1*0602 and DRB1*1502,DRB5* 0102,DQB1*0501 were higher among SLE patients than among controls; however, only DQB1*0501 was statistically significantly associated with SLE. No specific allele/haplotype was significantly associated with lupus nephritis. No subject had type I C2 deficiency. SLE patients had a marginally higher percentage of TNF2, which was in linkage disequilibrium with DR3. Since DR3 was not associated with SLE in this Taiwanese Chinese population, TNF2 might play a role in the immunopathogenesis of SLE.
Conclusion: Although no HLA-DRB1 allele was found to be significantly associated with SLE, the associations with DQB1*0501 and TNF2 suggest that DQB1 and tumor necrosis factor a may be important genetic factors in SLE susceptibility in the Chinese population in Taiwan.