Zhang, H., Wang, L., Huang, Y. et al. Mol Biol Rep (2012) 39: 9965. doi:10.1007/s11033-012-1865-8
B cell lymphocyte kinase (BLK) encodes a member of the Src kinase family and thus may influence the proliferation and differentiation of cells. A single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) located in the first intron of BLK has shown that the risk C allele of rs2248932 is associated with lower levels of messenger RNA expression of BLK. We hypothesized that this polymorphism may contribute to rheumatoid arthritis (RA) susceptibility. We studied BLK rs2248932 T/C gene polymorphisms in 329 patients with RA and 697 controls in a Chinese population. Genotyping was done using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-MS). When the BLK rs2248932 TT homozygote genotype was used as the reference group, the CC genotype was associated with a significantly increased risk of RA. In the recessive model, when the BLK rs2248932 TT/TC genotypes were used as the reference group, the CC homozygote genotype was associated with a significantly increased susceptibility to RA. In stratification analyses, a significantly increased risk for RA associated with the BLK rs2248932 CC genotype was evident among younger patients, CRP-negative patients and anti-CCP-positive patients compared with the BLK rs2248932 TT/TC genotype. The risk was also significantly evident among RF-positive patients, patients with lower ESR levels, patients with lower or higher DAS28 score and patients with a lower functional class. These findings suggested that the functional SNP BLK rs2248932 T/C variant allele was associated with RA development. However, our results were obtained from a moderate-sized sample, and therefore this is a preliminary conclusion. Validation in a larger study from a more diverse ethnic population is needed to confirm these findings.