OBJECTIVES: A single nucleotide polymorphism in the NCF1 gene (NCF1-339, rs201802880), encoding NADPH oxidase type II subunit NCF1/p47, reducing production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) is strongly associated with the development of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). This study aimed at characterising NCF1-339 effects on neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) formation, type I interferon activity and antibody profile in patients with SLE. METHODS: Neutrophil NET-release pathways (n=31), serum interferon (n=141) and finally antibody profiles (n=305) were investigated in SLE subjects from Lund, genotyped for NCF1-339. Then, 1087 SLE subjects from the rheumatology departments of four Swedish SLE centres, genotyped for NCF1-339, were clinically characterised to validate these findings. RESULTS: Compared with patients with normal-ROS NCF1-339 genotypes, neutrophils from patients with SLE with low-ROS NCF1-339 genotypes displayed impaired NET formation (p<0.01) and increased dependence on mitochondrial ROS (p<0.05). Low-ROS patients also had increased frequency of high serum interferon activity (80% vs 21.4%, p<0.05) and positivity for anti-β2 glycoprotein I (p<0.01) and anticardiolipin antibodies (p<0.05) but were not associated with other antibodies. We confirmed an over-representation of having any antiphospholipid antibody, OR 1.40 (95% CI 1.01 to 1.95), anti-β2 glycoprotein I, OR 1.82 (95% CI 1.02 to 3.24) and the antiphospholipid syndrome (APS), OR 1.74 (95% CI 1.19 to 2.55) in all four cohorts (n=1087). CONCLUSIONS: The NCF1-339 SNP mediated decreased NADPH oxidase function, is associated with high interferon activity and impaired formation of NETs in SLE, allowing dependence on mitochondrial ROS. Unexpectedly, we revealed a striking connection between the ROS deficient NCF1-339 genotypes and the presence of phospholipid antibodies and APS.© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2020. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.
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