Mehmet Ali BALCI1, Engin ATLI2, Hakan GüRKAN2

1Rheumatology Clinic, Gazi Yaşargil Training and Research Hospital, Diyarbakır, Turkey
2Department of Medical Genetics, Trakya University, Faculty of Medicine, Edirne, Turkey

Keywords: Atherosclerosis, clinical parameters, genetic variance, systemic lupus erythematosus, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index


Objectives: In this study, we aimed to identify patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) who are genetically at risk for developing atherosclerosis.

Patients and methods: Between November 2014 and May 2016, a total of 38 patients with SLE (36 females, 2 males; mean age: 37.6 years; range, 18 to 71 years) and 32 healthy females (mean age: 31.5 years; range, 19 to 54 years) were included in the study. Carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) was measured using high-resolution B-mode ultrasonography. SurePrint G3 Human Gene Expression 8x60K Microarray kit was used in our study. Genes showing differences in expression between the groups were identified by using GeneSpring GX 10.0 program. Pathway analyses of gene expressions were performed using Ingenuity Pathways Analysis (IPA). Gene ontology analyses were performed using the Protein Analysis Through Evolutionary Relationships (PANTHER).

Results: Clinical findings of SLE patients were mainly photosensitivity (71.1%), arthritis (63.2%), lupus nephritis (55.3%), thrombocytopenia (26.3%), and autoimmune hemolytic anemia (21.1%). A total of 155 genes showing expression level difference were detected between SLE patients and healthy controls. In molecular network analysis, 28.2% of all genes were found to be directly or indirectly associated with atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease.

Conclusion: In SLE patients, many genes are expressed differently from healthy individuals. Expression of these genes is important in the pathogenesis of SLE. Genes identified differently in gene expression analysis can help us to identify SLE patients at risk for atherosclerosis in the Turkish population.