Crohn's disease (CD) and celiac disease (CelD) are chronic intestinal inflammatory diseases, involving genetic and environmental factors in their pathogenesis. The two diseases can co-occur within families, and studies suggest that CelD patients have a higher risk to develop CD than the general population. These observations suggest that CD and CelD may share common genetic risk loci. Two such shared loci, IL18RAP and PTPN2, have already been identified independently in these two diseases. The aim of our study was to explicitly identify shared risk loci for these diseases by combining results from genome-wide association study (GWAS) datasets of CD and CelD. Specifically, GWAS results from CelD (768 cases, 1,422 controls) and CD (3,230 cases, 4,829 controls) were combined in a meta-analysis. Nine independent regions had nominal association p-value <1.0×10−5 in this meta-analysis and showed evidence of association to the individual diseases in the original scans (p-value <1×10−2 in CelD and <1×10−3 in CD). These include the two previously reported shared loci, IL18RAP and PTPN2, with p-values of 3.37×10−8 and 6.39×10−9, respectively, in the meta-analysis. The other seven had not been reported as shared loci and thus were tested in additional CelD (3,149 cases and 4,714 controls) and CD (1,835 cases and 1,669 controls) cohorts. Two of these loci, TAGAP and PUS10, showed significant evidence of replication (Bonferroni corrected p-values <0.0071) in the combined CelD and CD replication cohorts and were firmly established as shared risk loci of genome-wide significance, with overall combined p-values of 1.55×10−10 and 1.38×10−11 respectively. Through a meta-analysis of GWAS data from CD and CelD, we have identified four shared risk loci: PTPN2, IL18RAP, TAGAP, and PUS10. The combined analysis of the two datasets provided the power, lacking in the individual GWAS for single diseases, to detect shared loci with a relatively small effect.
Celiac disease and Crohn's disease are both chronic inflammatory diseases of the digestive tract. Both of these diseases are complex genetic traits with multiple genetic and non-genetic risk factors. Recent genome-wide association (GWA) studies have identified some of the genetic risk factors for these diseases. Interestingly, in addition to some similarities in phenotype, these studies have shown that CelD and CD share some genetic risk factors. Specifically, by comparing the results of independent GWA studies of CD and CelD, two genetic risk loci were found in common: the PTPN2 locus and the IL18RAP locus. Therefore, in order to directly test for additional shared genetic risk factors, we combined the GWA results from two large studies of CelD and CD, essentially creating a combined phenotype with anyone with CD or CelD being coded as affected. Association results were then replicated in additional cohorts of CelD and CD. It is expected that shared risk loci should show association in this analysis, whereas the signal of risk loci specific to either of the two diseases should be diluted. With this method of meta-analysis, we identified next to PTPN2 and IL18 RAP two loci harbouring TAGAP and PUS10 as shared risk loci for Crohn's disease and celiac disease at genome-wide significance.