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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Liver X receptors alpha gene (NR1H3) promoter polymorphisms are associated with systemic lupus erythematosus in Koreans

Ja-Young Jeon1, Jin-Young Nam1, Hyoun-Ah Kim1, Yong-Beom Park2, Sang-Cheol Bae3 and Chang-Hee Suh1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Rheumatology and BK21 Division of Cell Transformation and Restoration, Ajou University School of Medicine, 164 Worldcup-ro, Yeongtong-gu, Suwon 443-380, Korea

2 Division of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Department of Medical Sciences, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea

3 Department of Rheumatology, Hanyang University Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, Seoul, Korea

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2014, 16:R112  doi:10.1186/ar4563

Published: 14 May 2014



Liver X receptors are established sensors of lipid and cholesterol homeostasis. Recent studies have reported that these receptors are involved in the regulation of inflammation and immune responses. We attempted to identify single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the NR1H3 gene associated with the susceptibility to systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).


SNPs were genotyped using SNaPSHOT assay in 300 Korean patients with SLE and 217 normal controls (NC), and in replication samples (160 SLE patients and 143 NC). Also, the functional effects of NR1H3 gene promoter polymorphisms were analyzed using a luciferase assay, real-time polymerase chain reaction, B cell proliferation assay and an electrophoretic mobility shift assay.


We identified five polymorphisms: -1851 T > C (rs3758673), -1830 T > C (rs3758674), -1003 G > A (new), -840 C > A (rs61896015) and -115 G > A (rs12221497). There was a significant and reproducible difference in the -1830 T > C, -1003 G > A and -115 G > A polymorphisms between the SLE and the NC. Luciferase activity of the structure containing -1830 C was less enhanced compared to the structure containing -1830 T in basal, GW3965 and T0901317 treated Hep3B cells (P = 0.009, P = 0.034 and P <0.001, respectively). Proliferation of the -1830 TC type was increased compared to the -1830 TT type in basal, GW3965 and T0901317 treated B cells from SLE patients (P = 0.011, P = 0.040 and P = 0.017, respectively). Transcription factor GATA-3 preferentially bound the -1830 T allele in the promoter.


NR1H3 genetic polymorphisms may be associated with disease susceptibility and clinical manifestations of SLE. Specifically, -1830 T > C polymorphism within NR1H3 promoter region may be involved in regulation of NR1H3 expression.