Taken together, our results uncovered a mechanistic insight of a noncoding functional variant acting as an allele-specific distal enhancer to directly modulate IRF5 expression, which might obligate in understanding of complex genetic architectures of SLE and SSc pathogenesis.
Among eight SSc-associated susceptibility polymorphisms which were applied for meta-analysis, IRF5rs2004640 polymorphism (OR 1.12; 95% CI 1.02-1.22, P = 1.39 × 10<sup>-2</sup>), STAT4 rs7574865 polymorphism (OR 1.25; 95% CI 1.07-1.47, P = 5.3 × 10<sup>-3</sup>), IRAK1 rs1059702 polymorphism (OR 1.20; 95% CI 1.05-1.37, P = 0.007), and CTGF G-945C polymorphism (OR 1.42; 95% CI 1.18-1.71, P = 0.002) are associated with PF status in SSc, while TNFAIP3 rs5029939, CD226 rs763361, CD247 rs2056626, and IRF5rs10488631 polymorphisms are not.
Since IRF5, STAT4, and IRAK1 are important regulatory factors in the control of innate immune responses and CTGF is involved in the synthesis of extracellular matrix, these results suggest a role of the innate immunity and matrix compounds in the pathogenesis of PF in SSc.
For STAT4 polymorphism, we observed a statistically significant positive association between risk factor T allele carriers and SSc susceptibility (OR = 1.37, 95% CI = 1.27-1.48, P < 0.00001) in the overall population.
Five single nucleotide polymorphisms, IRF5 (rs10488631, rs12537284, rs4728142), STAT4 (rs3821236), CD247 (rs2056626) reached genome-wide significance in the SSc-GWAS and were examined in the current study.
We examined the relationship between five gene polymorphisms [cytotoxic T lymphocyte associated antigen 4 (CTLA-4) -1722T/C, CTLA-4 -318C/T, CTLA-4 +49A/G, angiotensin-converting enzyme I/D, STAT-4rs7574865] and susceptibility to SSc.