Phenome-wide association study identifies dsDNA as a driver of major organ involvement in systemic lupus erythematosus

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In systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), dsDNA antibodies are associated with renal disease. Less is known about comorbidities in patients without dsDNA or other autoantibodies. Using an electronic health record (EHR) SLE cohort, we employed a phenome-wide association study (PheWAS) that scans across billing codes to compare comorbidities in SLE patients with and without autoantibodies. We used our validated algorithm to identify SLE subjects. Autoantibody status was defined as ever positive for dsDNA, RNP, Smith, SSA and SSB. PheWAS was performed in antibody positive vs. negative SLE patients adjusting for age and race and using a false discovery rate of 0.05. We identified 1097 SLE subjects. In the PheWAS of dsDNA positive vs. negative subjects, dsDNA positive subjects were more likely to have nephritis (p = 2.33 × 10−9) and renal failure (p = 1.85 × 10−5). After adjusting for sex, race, age and other autoantibodies, dsDNA was independently associated with nephritis and chronic kidney disease. Those patients negative for dsDNA, RNP, SSA and SSB negative subjects were all more likely to have billing codes for sleep, pain and mood disorders. PheWAS uncovered a hierarchy within SLE-specific autoantibodies with dsDNA having the greatest impact on major organ involvement.


Dermatology | Rheumatology




Department of Medicine, Department of Medicine Faculty

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