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Genomics Inform > Volume 7(1); 2009 > Article
Interaction between Smoking and the STAB2 Gene in the Severity of Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Jin Young Min, Kyoung Bok Min, Joohon Sung, Sung Il Cho
1Institute of Health & Environment, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.
2Department of Preventive Medicine, Ajou University School of Medicine, Suwon, Korea.
3Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disorder that is characterized by inflammation of the synovial tissue and deterioration of the joint and bone. A recent study reported a potential gene-environment interaction between HLA-DR and smoking. The present study investigated whether a specific gene was related to the association between smoking and the severity of RA (rheumatoid factor levels > 20 IU/ml). We used the resources of the NARAC family collection of GAW 15 databases, and 1139 subjects with RF > 20 IU/ml were included in the current analysis. The linkage panel contained 5858 SNP markers, and 5744 SNPs passed quality control criteria. Linear regression analyses, using PLINK software and generalized estimating equation regression models, were used to test for associations between the SNPs and the severity of RA according to smoking groups. Two major findings were established. First, the severity of RA in smokers was associated with rs703618 (p=6x10(-5)), which lies in the intronic region of the stabilin 2 (STAB2) gene on chromosome 12. Second, there were significant differences in the levels of RF between 'ever smokers' and 'never smokers' according to the rs703618 genotype (G/G, A/G, A/A). We investigated whether a specific gene acts as a mediator between smoking and the severity of RA and found that the STAB2 gene could affect this relationship. Our finding indicates that smoking may mediate RA severity by affecting the expression level of a specific gene.
Keywords: gene-environment interaction; hyaluronic acid; rheumatoid arthritis; smoking


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