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Free Content Quantification of the Genetic Component of Basal C-Reactive Protein Expression in SLE Nuclear Families

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C-reactive protein (CRP) is a heritable acute-phase plasma protein also expressed at low, basal, levels in healthy individuals. Elevated basal CRP has been associated with increased cardiovascular risk, while CRP dysregulation may be a feature of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). In this cohort of 496 Caucasian SLE families we estimated basal CRP heritability, h2= 27.7%. We typed a dense map of CRP single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and found that seven were associated with basal CRP using both a regression approach and an orthogonal family-based test (P = 0.001–0.011), as were haplotypes carrying the minor allele of these SNPs. SNPs in the interleukin-1 and interleukin-6 genes were associated with basal CRP. No association was seen between CRP genotype and SLE. Using a variance components approach we estimated that the CRP genotype accounted for only 15% of the total genetic component of basal CRP variation, perhaps explaining the limited evidence of association between CRP and disease. Most of the genetic determinants of basal CRP variation therefore remain unknown. Multiple genes may be involved and identifying them will provide an insight into pathways regulating CRP expression, highlight potential cardiovascular disease and SLE candidates and improve the ability of basal CRP to predict cardiovascular risk.
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Keywords: C-reactive protein; cardiovascular disease; genetics; systemic lupus erythematosus

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Rheumatology, Molecular Genetics and Rheumatology Section, Imperial College London, UK 2: The Division of Clinical Chemistry, Hammersmith Hospital, London, UK 3: The Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK

Publication date: September 1, 2008

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