Mitochondrial dysfunction has been implicated in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). This study re-investigates the roles of previously suggested candidate genes of energy metabolism (Complex I genes located in the nucleus and in the mitochondria) in patients with MS relative to ethnically matched SLE patients and healthy controls. After stringent correction for multiple testing, we reproduce the association of the mitochondrial (mt)DNA haplotype K* with MS, but reject the importance of previously suggested borderline associations with nuclear genes of Complex I. In addition, we detect the association of common variants of the mitochondrial ND2 and ATP6 genes with both MS and SLE, which raises the possibility of a shared mitochondrial genetic background of these two autoimmune diseases.
Keywords: Multiple Sclerosis, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Candidate genes, mitochondrial genes