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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 12, Issue 4, Pages 275-279

Polymorphism of the Fractalkine Receptor CX3CR1 and Systemic Sclerosis-associated Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension

1Rheumatology Unit, Department of Medicine, Surgery and Dentistry, Humanitas Clinical Institute, University of Milan, Rozzano, Milan, Italy
2Division of Internal Medicine, San Paolo School of Medicine, University of Milan, Italy
3Division of Rheumatology, Allergy, Clinical Immunology, University of California, Davis, CA, USA
4Department of Medicine, S. Gerardo Hospital, Monza, Italy
5Clinical Chemistry Laboratory, S. Paolo Hospital, Milan, Italy

Copyright © 2005 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Fractalkine (FKN) and its receptor CX3CR1 are critical mediators in the vascular and tissue damage of several chronic diseases, including systemic sclerosis (SSc) and pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Interestingly, the V249I and T280M genetic polymorphisms influence CX3CR1 expression and function. We investigated whether these polymorphisms are associated with PAH secondary to SSc. CX3CR1 genotypes were analyzed by PCR and sequencing in 76 patients with limited SSc and 204 healthy controls. PAH was defined by colorDoppler echocardiography. Homozygosity for 249II as well as the combined presence of 249II and 280MM were significantly more frequent in patients with SSc compared to controls (17 vs 6%, p = 0.0034 and 5 vs 1%, p = 0.0027, respectively). The 249I and 280M alleles were associated with PAH (odd ratio [OR] 2.2, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.01-4.75, p = 0.028 and OR 7.37, 95%CI: 2.45-24.60, p = 0.0001, respectively). In conclusion, the increased frequencies of 249I and 280M CX3CR1 alleles in a subgroup of patients with SSc-associated PAH suggest a role for the fractalkine system in the pathogenesis of this condition. Further, the 249I allele might be associated with susceptibility to SSc.