Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease with highly variable clinical presentation. Patients suffer from immunological abnormalities that target T-cell, B-cell and accessory cell functions. B cells are hyperactive in SLE patients. An adapter protein expressed in B cells called BANK1 (B-cell scaffold protein with ankyrin repeats) was reported in a previous study to be associated with SLE in a European population. The objective of this study was to assess the BANK1 genotype-phenotype association in an independent replication sample. We genotyped 38 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in BANK1 on 1892 European-derived SLE patients and 2652 European-derived controls. The strongest associations with SLE and BANK1 were at rs17266594 (corrected P-value = 1.97 × 10-5, odds ratio (OR) = 1.22, 95% CI 1.12-1.34) and rs10516487 (corrected P-value = 2.59 × 10-5, OR = 1.22, 95% CI 1.11-1.34). Our findings suggest that the association is explained by these two SNPs, confirming previous reports that these polymorphisms contribute to the risk of developing lupus. Analysis of patient subsets enriched for hematological, immunological and renal ACR criteria or the levels of autoantibodies, such as anti-RNP A and anti-SmRNP, uncovers additional BANK1 associations. Our results suggest that BANK1 polymorphisms alter immune system development and function to increase the risk for developing lupus.
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