Alleles of interferon (IFN) regulatory factor 8 (IRF8) are associated with susceptibility to both systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and multiple sclerosis (MS). Although high-type I IFN is thought to be causal in SLE, type I IFN is used as a therapy in MS. We investigated whether IRF8 alleles were associated with type I IFN levels or serologic profiles in SLE and MS. Alleles that have been previously associated with SLE or MS were genotyped in SLE and MS patients. The MS-associated rs17445836G allele was associated with anti-double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) autoantibodies in SLE patients (meta-analysis odds ratio=1.92). The same allele was associated with decreased serum IFN activity in SLE patients with anti-dsDNA antibodies, and with decreased type I IFN-induced gene expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cell from anti-dsDNA-negative SLE patients. In secondary progressive MS patients, rs17445836G was associated with decreased serum type I IFN. Rs17445836G was associated with increased IRF8 expression in SLE patient B cells. In summary, IRF8 rs17445836G is associated with human autoimmune disease characterized by low-type I IFN levels, and this may have pharmacogenetic relevance as type I IFN is modulated in SLE and MS. The association with autoantibodies and increased IRF8 expression in B cells supports a role for rs17445836G in humoral tolerance.
- interferon regulatory factors
- systemic lupus erythematosus
- type I interferon
ASJC Scopus subject areas