Growth arrest-specific 5 (GAS5) is a kind of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs). Previous studies showed that down-regulation of LncRNA-GAS5 was involved in the development of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). However, the regulatory mechanism of down-expressed LncRNA-GAS5 in SLE remains obscure. In this study, we aimed to investigate the association of LncRNA-GAS5 polymorphism with SLE risk. And further explore how LncRNA-GAS5 is involved in the occurrence of SLE. Here, we evaluated the relationship between the risk for the development of SLE and the 5-base pair (AGGCA/-) insertion/deletion (I/D) polymorphism (rs145204276) in the LncRNA-GAS5 promoter region. A custom 36-Plex SNPscan kit was used for genotyping the LncRNA-GAS5 polymorphisms. The LncRNA-GAS5 and miR-21 target prediction was performed using bioinformatics software. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) were performed to assess GAS5 and miR-21 mRNA expression and PTEN protein expression. The results revealed that rs145204276 resulted in a decreased risk of SLE (DD genotypes vs II genotypes: adjusted OR = 0.538, 95% CI, 0.30-0.97, P = .039; ID genotypes vs II genotypes: adjusted OR = 0.641, 95% CI, 0.46-0.89, P = .007; ID/DD genotypes vs II genotypes: adjusted OR = 0.621, 95% CI, 0.46-0.84, P = .002; D alleles vs I alleles: adjusted OR = 0.680, 95% CI, 0.53-0.87, P = .002). A reduced incidence of renal disorders in SLE was found to be related to ID/DD genotypes and D alleles (ID/DD genotypes vs II genotypes: OR = 0.57, 95% CI, 0.36-0.92, P = .020; D alleles vs I alleles: OR = 0.63, 95% CI, 0.43-0.93, P = .019). However, no significant association of rs2235095, rs6790, rs2067079 and rs1951625 polymorphisms with SLE risk was observed (P > .05). Additionally, haplotype analysis showed that a decreased SLE risk resulted from the A-A-C-G-D haplotype (OR = 0.67, 95% CI, 0.49-0.91, P = .010). Also, patients in the SLE group showed a down-regulated expression of LncRNA-GAS5 and PTEN than the healthy volunteers; however, patients with rs145204276 ID/DD genotypes showed up-regulated expression of LncRNA-GAS5 and PTEN compared with patients carrying the II genotype. Furthermore, the miR-21 levels were considerably up-regulated in the SLE group than the healthy volunteers, and patients with rs145204276 ID/DD genotype had lower miR-21 levels than the ones with the II genotype. Thus, we found that the LncRNA-GAS5/miR-21/PTEN signalling pathway was involved in the development of SLE, where LncRNA-GAS5 acted as an miR-21 target, and miR-21 regulated the expression of PTEN. These findings indicated that the rs145204276 ID/DD genotypes in the LncRNA-GAS5 gene promoter region may be protected against SLE by up-regulating the expression of LncRNA-GAS5, which consecutively regulated miR-21 and PTEN levels.© 2021 The Authors. Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine published by Foundation for Cellular and Molecular Medicine and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
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