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Objective

To examine parental influence on the development of systemic sclerosis (SSc; scleroderma). We designed 3 studies: mitochondrial inheritance, birth order (a possible surrogate marker for microchimerism), and paternal age at conception (a possible surrogate for telomere erosion) to examine their association with development of SSc.

Methods

SSc was defined by International Classification of Diseases, Ninth and Tenth Revision codes (ICD-9 710.1 and ICD 10 M34.0, M34.1, and M34.9) and identified from statewide discharge data, University of Utah Health Science Center Enterprise Data Warehouse (UUHSC), and death certificates that were linked to the Utah Population Database (UPDB) for analysis. Mitochondrial inheritance was evaluated by conditional logistic regression and population attributable risk using familial standardized incidence ratio as the covariate. Chi-square test and logistic regression were used to evaluate birth order and maternal/paternal age at conception of the SSc proband.

Results

We found 1,947 unique SSc patients from UUHSC and UPDB. We selected 5 controls per case (n = 9,115), matched by birth year and sex. Mitochondrial inheritance analysis indicated no evidence to suggest SSc was associated with mitochondrial inheritance. Birth order and maternal/paternal age at conception analysis results show that they also do not significantly affect SSc development.

Conclusion

Results suggest that although heritable risk of SSc is observed, mitochondrial inheritance, birth order, and parental age are not likely responsible for pathogenesis.