Coronary Heart Disease in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Is Associated With Interferon Regulatory Factor-8 Gene Variants

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background- Patients with systemic lupus erythematosus have increased morbidity and mortality in coronary heart disease (CHD). We asked whether there was a genetic influence on CHD in systemic lupus erythematosus. Methods and Results- The association between single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and CHD in 2 populations of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus was assessed. Patients were genotyped on a custom 12k Illumina Array. The allele frequencies were compared between patients with (n=66) and without (n=509) CHD. We found 61 SNPs with an association (P<0.01) to CHD, with the strongest association for 3 SNPs located in the interferon regulatory factor-8 (IRF8) gene. Comparison of the allele frequencies of these 61 SNPs in patients with (n=27) and without (n=212) CHD in the second study population revealed that 2 SNPs, rs925994 and rs10514610 in IRF8 (linkage disequilibrium, r(2)=0.84), were associated with CHD in both study populations. Meta-analysis of the SNP rs925994 gave an odds ratio of 3.6 (2.1-6.3), P value 1.9x10(-6). The identified IRF8 allele remained as a risk factor for CHD after adjustment for traditional CHD risk factors. The IRF8 risk allele was associated with the presence of carotid plaques (P<0.001) and increased intima-media thickness (P=0.01). By electrophoretic mobility shift assays, we show weaker binding of protein to the risk allele of the highly linked SNP rs11117415, and by flow cytometry, a reduced frequency of circulating B cells was detected in patients with the IRF8 risk allele. Conclusions- There is a considerable genetic component for CHD in systemic lupus erythematosus, with IRF8 as a strong susceptibility locus.


  • Dag Leonard
  • Elisabet Svenungsson
  • Johanna K. Sandling
  • Olof Berggren
  • Andreas Jönsen
  • Christine Bengtsson
  • Chuan Wang
  • Kerstin Jensen-Urstad
  • Sven-Olof Granstam
  • Anders Bengtsson
  • Johanna T. Gustafsson
  • Iva Gunnarsson
  • Solbritt Rantapaa-Dahlqvist
  • Gunnel Nordmark
  • Maija-Leena Eloranta
  • Ann-Christine Syvanen
  • Lars Ronnblom
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Rheumatology and Autoimmunity


  • lupus erythematosus, interferon regulatory factor-8, genes, disease, coronary, cardiovascular disease, carotid intima-media thickness, myocardial ischemia, systemic
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-263
JournalCirculation: Cardiovascular Genetics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Publication categoryResearch