Identification of a lymphocyte-expressed gene (FCRL3) involved in rheumatoid arthritis

April 18, 2005 PRESS RELEASE

The Laboratory for Rheumatic Diseases has identified the FCRL3 gene, which is expressed onB-lymphocytes, as involved in rheumatoid arthritis and several autoimmunities. This research result was generated from a collaboration of the Graduate School of Medicine and Faculty of Medicine, University of Tokyo, the International Medical Center of Japan, the University of Oklahoma, Hanyang University and Sankyo Co., Ltd.
The laboratory compared the gene sequences of 830 rheumatoid arthritis patients with those of 658 healthy persons. An SNP in the regulatory sequence of FCRL3 gene was found to be associated with rheumatoid arthritis susceptibility. This SNP was also associated with susceptibility to other autoimmune diseases, systemic lupus erythematosus and autoimmune thyroid diseases.
As it has already been clarified that FCRL3 is highly expressed on B-lymphocytes, FCRL3 may influence their activity, thereby leading to autoimmunity.
The research results will be published in the May 2005 issue of the U.S. science journal Nature Genetics.