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Scientists identify genes linked to lupus in women
Date:1/20/2008

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. An international consortium of scientists has identified multiple genes that are linked to systemic lupus erythematosus, a devastating autoimmune disease that affects between 1 million and 2 million Americans. Reporting in Nature Genetics, the scientists also confirmed earlier findings linking lupus to several other genes highlighting the role that genetics plays in the disease.

These findings underscore that numerous genes, which are often immune-function related, contribute to the risk of developing lupus, said Carl D. Langefeld, Ph.D., senior author from Wake Forest University School of Medicine and co-director of the International Consortium for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Genetics (www.SLEGEN.org).

These results suggest biologic pathways that help us understand the condition better and suggest additional genetic and non-genetic triggers, said Langefeld. In addition, they help delineate the genetic distinctions between rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and other autoimmune diseases, which could lead to earlier, more accurate diagnoses.

Systemic lupus can involve the joints, kidneys, heart, lungs, brain and blood. The disease occurs in about 31 out of every 100,000 people and affects women nine times more frequently than men. Scientists believe that lupus is caused by genetic variants that interact with each other and the environment.

The current study was made possible because of advances in technology that allow researchers to take a more systematic approach to looking at the entire genome. It was supported by the Alliance for Lupus Research and the National Institutes of Health.

The researchers studied the DNA of 720 women of European descent with lupus and 2,337 women without lupus. They scanned the entire genome for more than 317,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), which are locations on chromosomes where a single unit of DNA, or genetic materi
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Contact: Karen Richardson
krchrdsn@wfubmc.edu
336-716-4453
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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