Arthritis and rheumatism

C8orf13-BLK is a genetic risk locus for systemic sclerosis and has additive effects with BANK1: results from a large french cohort and meta-analysis.

PMID 21480188


Accumulating evidence suggests that B cells are involved in systemic sclerosis (SSc). BANK1 has been reproducibly reported to be associated with diffuse cutaneous SSc (dcSSc). BLK encodes another B cell signal transducer, and a functional variant at the C8orf13-BLK locus has been found to be associated with SSc in Caucasians. However, no independent replication has been reported, and there are discrepancies in the genotype-phenotype correlation between these studies in Caucasians and another study performed in the Japanese population. Therefore, in a large cohort of French Caucasians and using a meta-analysis of the available data, this study was undertaken to determine whether the C8orf13-BLK locus is associated with SSc, and to assess the possibility of interaction between BLK and BANK1 in SSc. The C8orf13-BLK rs13277113 genotype was determined in 1,031 patients with SSc and 1,014 control subjects for whom BANK1 genotypes were available. Meta-analysis of the 3 available data sets (6,078 individuals) was also performed. Minor allele frequencies for rs13277113 revealed an association restricted to the dcSSc subtype (P = 0.012, odds ratio [OR] 1.29) in the French sample. Meta-analysis of the combined Caucasian populations showed an association of this genotype with both SSc (P = 0.0013, OR 1.16, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 1.06-1.26) and dcSSc (P = 0.0012, OR 1.23, 95% CI 1.08-1.39). Inclusion of the Japanese population confirmed the overall association with the disease, with the strongest association observed with dcSSc (P = 3.27 × 10⁻⁵, OR 1.27). Secondary analysis in the French sample revealed additive effects between C8orf13-BLK and BANK1, mainly in the dcSSc subset. These results confirm C8orf13-BLK as an SSc risk locus. The strongest effects, and particularly additive effects, were observed in the interaction between C8orf13-BLK and BANK1 in the dcSSc subset.