F-X Wu, L. Wu, X-Y Luo
Nov 2, 2009
HLA-G is a non-classical HLA-class Ib molecule with multiple immunoregulatory properties. A 14-bp insertion/deletion polymorphism in the HLA-G gene has been suggested to influence the expression of HLA-G and to associate with certain pathological conditions, including autoimmune diseases. We investigated the influence of the 14-bp insertion/deletion polymorphism in the HLA-G gene on disease susceptibility in systemic lupus erythematosus by genotyping this polymorphism in 231 patients with systemic lupus erythematosus and 367 healthy controls and analyzing the levels of soluble HLA-G in a subset of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus and healthy subjects from a Han Chinese population. No statistically significant differences were observed in the frequencies of the 14-bp insertion/deletion HLA-G alleles or genotypes between controls and patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. However, a significant increased expression of soluble HLA-G was noted in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (mean value = 230.2 U/ml vs 118.3 U/ml in controls, p = 0.0001). Moreover, patients with high levels of soluble HLA-G presented with higher disease activity and had more neurological involvement. Our results do not support the HLA-G 14-bp insertion/deletion polymorphism as a genetic factor influencing systemic lupus erythematosus susceptibility. It is possible that the expression of soluble HLA-G in systemic lupus erythematosus is enhanced as part of a mechanism to try to restore the tolerance process towards auto-antigens and to counteract inflammation. However, the participation of this molecule in the pathological process of the disease also could not be excluded. Lupus (2009) 18, 1259—1266.