Objective. Identification of the genes responsible for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Methods. All the exons and putative promoter regions of 53 candidate genes (TNFRSF6/Fas, TNFSF6/FasL, Fli1, TNFSF10/TRAIL, TNFSF12/TWEAK, Bcl-2, PTEN, FADD, TRADD, CDKN1A, TNFRSF1A/TNFR1, TNFRSF4/OX40, TNFSF4/OX40L, TNFSF5/CD40L, TNFSF13B/BAFF, ICOS, CTLA4, CD28, FYN, G2A, CR2, PTPRC/CD45, CD22, CD19, Lyn, PDCD1, PTPN6, TGFB1, TGFB2, TGFB3, TGFBR1, TGFBR2, TGFBR3, CD3Z, DNASE1, APCS, MERTK, C3, C1QA, C1QB, C1QG, C2, MBL2, IGHM, IL-2, IL-4, IL-10, IFNG, TNFA, MAN2A1, TNFRSF11A/RANK, TNFRSF11B/OPG, TNFSF11/OPGL) were screened for single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and their association with SLE was assessed by case-control studies. A total of 509 cases and 964 controls of Japanese descent were enrolled. Results. A total of 316 SNPs was identified. When analysed in the Japanese population, the allele frequencies of T at rs7951 and G at rs2230201 of the C3 gene were 0.110 and 0.626, respectively, in SLE patients; significantly higher than the frequencies of 0.081 and 0.584, respectively, in controls [odds ratio (OR) = 1.40, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.05-1.86, P = 0.016 and OR = 1.19, 95% CI = 1.01-1.41, P = 0.038, respectively]. The mean serum C3 level of carriers of the rs7951 T allele was significantly lower than that of non-carriers of the T allele in 87 SLE patients whose medical records were available (P = 0.0018). Conclusion. rs7951 T allele of the C3 gene was significantly associated with SLE, and decreased serum level of C3 seems to be correlated with this allele.
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