Autoimmune muscle diseases (myositis) comprise a group of complex phenotypes influenced by genetic and environmental factors. To identify genetic risk factors in patients of European ancestry, we conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of the major myositis phenotypes in a total of 1710 cases, which included 705 adult dermatomyositis; 473 juvenile dermatomyositis; 532 polymyositis; and 202 adult dermatomyositis, juvenile dermatomyositis or polymyositis patients with anti-histidyl tRNA synthetase (anti-Jo-1) autoantibodies, and compared them with 4724 controls. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms showing strong associations (P < 5 × 10−8) in GWAS were identified in the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) region for all myositis phenotypes together, as well as for the four clinical and autoantibody phenotypes studied separately. Imputation and regression analyses found that alleles comprising the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) 8.1 ancestral haplotype (AH8.1) defined essentially all the genetic risk in the phenotypes studied. Although the HLA DRB1*03:01 allele showed slightly stronger associations with adult and juvenile dermatomyositis, and HLA B*08:01 with polymyositis and anti-Jo-1 autoantibody-positive myositis, multiple alleles of AH8.1 were required for the full risk effects. Our findings establish that alleles of the AH8.1haplotype comprise the primary genetic risk factors associated with the major myositis phenotypes in geographically diverse Caucasian populations.
polymyositis; dermatomyositis; adult; juvenile; anti-Jo-1 autoantibodies; HLA 8.1 ancestral haplotype
Mutations of the gene encoding four-and-a-half LIM domain 1 (FHL1) are the causative factor of several X-linked hereditary myopathies that are collectively termed FHL1-related myopathies. These disorders are characterized by severe muscle dysfunction and damage. Here, we have shown that patients with idiopathic inflammatory myopathies (IIMs) develop autoimmunity to FHL1, which is a muscle-specific protein. Anti-FHL1 autoantibodies were detected in 25% of IIM patients, while patients with other autoimmune diseases or muscular dystrophies were largely anti-FHL1 negative. Anti-FHL1 reactivity was predictive for muscle atrophy, dysphagia, pronounced muscle fiber damage, and vasculitis. FHL1 showed an altered expression pattern, with focal accumulation in the muscle fibers of autoantibody-positive patients compared with a homogeneous expression in anti-FHL1–negative patients and healthy controls. We determined that FHL1 is a target of the cytotoxic protease granzyme B, indicating that the generation of FHL1 fragments may initiate FHL1 autoimmunity. Moreover, immunization of myositis-prone mice with FHL1 aggravated muscle weakness and increased mortality, suggesting a direct link between anti-FHL1 responses and muscle damage. Together, our findings provide evidence that FHL1 may be involved in the pathogenesis not only of genetic FHL1-related myopathies but also of autoimmune IIM. Importantly, these results indicate that anti-FHL1 autoantibodies in peripheral blood have promising potential as a biomarker to identify a subset of severe IIM.
A large portion of common variant loci associated with genetic risk for schizophrenia reside within non-coding sequence of unknown function. Here, we demonstrate promoter and enhancer enrichment in schizophrenia variants associated with expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL). The enrichment is greater when functional annotations derived from human brain are used relative to peripheral tissues. Regulatory trait concordance analysis ranked genes within schizophrenia genome-wide significant loci for a potential functional role, based on co-localization of a risk SNP, eQTL and regulatory element sequence. We identified potential physical interactions of non-contiguous proximal and distal regulatory elements. This was verified in prefrontal cortex and induced pluripotent stem cell-derived neurons for the L-type calcium channel (CACNA1C) risk locus. Our findings point to a functional link between schizophrenia-associated non-coding SNPs and 3-dimensional genome architecture associated with chromosomal loopings and transcriptional regulation in the brain.
Common variable immunodeficiency disorder (CVID) is the most common symptomatic primary immunodeficiency in adults, characterized by B cell abnormalities and inadequate antibody response. CVID patients have considerable autoimmune comorbidity and we therefore hypothesized that genetic susceptibility to CVID may overlap with autoimmune disorders. Here, in the largest genetic study performed in CVID to date, we compare 778 CVID cases with 10,999 controls across 123,127 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on the Immunochip. We identify the first non-HLA genome-wide significant risk locus at CLEC16A (rs17806056, P=2.0×10−9) and confirm the previously reported human leukocyte antigen (HLA) associations on chromosome 6p21 (rs1049225, P =4.8×10−16). Clec16a knock down (KD) mice showed reduced number of B cells and elevated IgM levels compared to controls, suggesting that CLEC16A may be involved in immune regulatory pathways of relevance to CVID. In conclusion, the CLEC16A associations in CVID represent the first robust evidence of non-HLA associations in this immunodeficiency condition.
Receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa B ligand (RANKL) is a key regulator of bone metabolism. Anti-citrullinated protein antibodies (ACPA) have been suggested to cause bone destruction by osteoclast activation. We investigated the relationship between RANKL and ACPA in patients with early untreated rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Patients with newly diagnosed untreated RA (n = 183) were analyzed at baseline and 3 months after initiating methotrexate (MTX) treatment. Serum RANKL (total RANKL), ACPA (anti-CCP2) and ACPA specificities (anti-citrullinated (cit)-vimentin, anti-cit-enolase and anti-cit-fibrinogen) were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Synovial RANKL expression was evaluated by immunohistochemistry in a small group of patients (n = 15). The relationship between anti-cit-vim antibodies and bone destruction was further validated in 1116 RA patients included in the EIRA cohort. Pearson’s chi-square test, Wilcoxon rank sum test, Wilcoxon signed rank test and linear regression models were used.
Serum RANKL concentration was significantly higher (p <0.05) in ACPA-positive (median: 689 pmol/L, IQR 342–1253) compared with ACPA-negative (median: 159 pmol/L, IQR 96–243) patients and this difference was also seen for synovial RANKL expression. Serum RANKL associated with ACPA (p <0.05) and bone erosions in rheumatoid factor (RF)-negative patients (n = 59). Among ACPA specificites, anti-cit-vimentin (amino acids 60–75) was associated with higher RANKL concentration and higher prevalence of bone erosion (p <0.05). Significant reductions in both serum RANKL and ACPA levels were observed after 3 months of MTX treatment (p <0.05).
RANKL was elevated in ACPA-positive and in anti-cit-vimentin-positive patients with early untreated RA and associated with bone erosions. These findings give further support for an early direct pathogenic link between ACPA and bone destruction in RA.
In a broad attempt to improve the understanding of the genetic regulation of serum IgA levels, the heritability was estimated in over 12 000 Swedish twins, and a genome-wide association study was conducted in a subsample of 9617. Using the classical twin model the heritability was found to be significantly larger among females (61%) compared with males (21%), while contribution from shared environment (20%) was only seen for males. By modeling the genetic relationship matrix with IgA levels, we estimate that a substantial proportion (31%) of variance in IgA levels can ultimately be explained by the investigated SNPs. The genome-wide association study revealed significant association to two loci: (i) rs6928791 located on chromosome 6, 22 kb upstream of the gene SAM and SH3 domain containing 1 (SASH1) and (ii) rs13300483 on chromosome 9, situated 12 kb downstream the CD30 ligand (CD30L) encoding gene. The association to rs13300483 was replicated in two additional independent Swedish materials. The heritability of IgA levels is moderate and can partly be attributable to common variation in the CD30L locus.
A highly polygenic etiology and high degree of allele-sharing between ancestries have been well-elucidated in genetic studies of rheumatoid arthritis. Recently, the high-density genotyping array Immunochip for immune disease loci identified 14 new rheumatoid arthritis risk loci among individuals of European ancestry. Here, we aimed to identify new rheumatoid arthritis risk loci using Korean-specific Immunochip data.
We analyzed Korean rheumatoid arthritis case-control samples using the Immunochip and GWAS array to search for new risk alleles of rheumatoid arthritis with anti-citrullinated peptide antibodies. To increase power, we performed a meta-analysis of Korean data with previously published European Immunochip and GWAS data, for a total sample size of 9,299 Korean and 45,790 European case-control samples.
We identified 8 new rheumatoid arthritis susceptibility loci (TNFSF4, LBH, EOMES, ETS1–FLI1, COG6, RAD51B, UBASH3A and SYNGR1) that passed a genome-wide significance threshold (p<5×10−8), with evidence for three independent risk alleles at 1q25/TNFSF4. The risk alleles from the 7 new loci except for the TNFSF4 locus (monomorphic in Koreans), together with risk alleles from previously established RA risk loci, exhibited a high correlation of effect sizes between ancestries. Further, we refined the number of SNPs that represent potentially causal variants through a trans-ethnic comparison of densely genotyped SNPs.
This study demonstrates the advantage of dense-mapping and trans-ancestral analysis for identification of potentially causal SNPs. In addition, our findings support the importance of T cells in the pathogenesis and the fact of frequent overlap of risk loci among diverse autoimmune diseases.
Rheumatoid arthritis; Gene polymorphism; Anti-CCP
Psoriasis is a common inflammatory skin disease with complex genetics and different degrees of prevalence across ethnic populations. Here we present the largest trans-ethnic genome-wide meta-analysis (GWMA) of psoriasis in 15,369 cases and 19,517 controls of Caucasian and Chinese ancestries. We identify four novel associations at LOC144817, COG6, RUNX1 and TP63, as well as three novel secondary associations within IFIH1 and IL12B. Fine-mapping analysis of MHC region demonstrates an important role for all three HLA class I genes and a complex and heterogeneous pattern of HLA associations between Caucasian and Chinese populations. Further, trans-ethnic comparison suggests population-specific effect or allelic heterogeneity for 11 loci. These population-specific effects contribute significantly to the ethnic diversity of psoriasis prevalence. This study not only provides novel biological insights into the involvement of immune and keratinocyte development mechanism, but also demonstrates a complex and heterogeneous genetic architecture of psoriasis susceptibility across ethnic populations.
Psoriasis is a common inflammatory skin disease with complex genetics and different degrees of prevalence across ethnic populations. Here Yin et al. conduct a large trans-ethnic genome-wide meta-analysis and identify novel loci that contribute to population-specific susceptibility.
Renal involvement is a severe complication in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Moreover, a subset of SLE patients develop the anti-phospholipid syndrome (APS), characterised by the occurrence of anti-phospholipid antibodies in combination with macro- and microvascular thrombotic manifestations, including acute and chronic antiphospholipid-associated nephropathy (APLN). Clinical presentations of lupus nephritis and APLN are similar and a renal biopsy is necessary to differentiate between the conditions. Our aim with this study was to investigate the occurrence of histopathological findings consistent with APLN (hAPLN) in renal biopsies from SLE patients and to investigate associations with anti-phospholipid antibody specificities, clinical manifestations, HLA-DRB1 alleles, and long-term renal outcome.
Consecutive renal biopsies from 112 SLE patients with renal involvement were investigated and evaluated for findings of hAPLN; in all there were 236 renal biopsies. Data from biopsy reports and clinical information were collected. Autoantibodies against cardiolipin and β2-glycoprotein-1 were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. A lupus anticoagulant test was determined with a modified Dilute Russel Viper Venom method. HLA genotyping was performed by sequence-specific primer PCR. Renal outcome was determined at study end.
The prevalence of hAPLN was 14.3% among SLE patients with renal involvement. Compared to patients with pure lupus nephritis, occurrence of hAPLN was associated with intima changes (odds ratio (OR) = 24; 95% confidence interval (CI), 3.0 to 189.8; P < 0.0001), hypertensive vascular changes (OR = 7.8; 95% CI, 1.6 to 39.4; P = 0.01), inflammatory infiltrates (OR = 6.5; 95% CI, 1.7 to 25.1; P = 0.007) and tubular atrophy (OR = 13.1; 95% CI, 1.7 to 103.6; P = 0.002). hAPLN was associated with the presence of cardiolipin antibodies (OR = 3.3; 95% CI, 1.0 to 10.8; P = 0.05) and triple anti-phospholipid antibody positivity (OR = 4.2; 95% CI, 1.3 to 13.7; P = 0.02). Patients with hAPLN were more hypertensive (OR = 3.8; 95% CI, 1.2 to 12.3; P = 0.03) and had higher levels of creatinine as compared to lupus nephritis patients (median 116 versus 75 μmol/L; P < 0.0001). We found significantly higher frequency of HLA-DRB1*13 (OR = 5.1; 95% CI, 1.7 to 15.4; P = 0.03) and development of end-stage renal disease (OR = 5.8; 95% CI, 1.7 to 19.7; P = 0.008) in hAPLN compared with lupus nephritis.
hAPLN is a severe and often unrecognized condition in SLE patients with renal involvement. We have demonstrated an increased risk for development of renal impairment and a genetic predisposition in hAPLN patients compared to lupus nephritis patients.
Despite the success of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in detecting a large number of loci for complex phenotypes such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) susceptibility, the lack of information on the causal genes leaves important challenges to interpret GWAS results in the context of the disease biology. Here, we genetically fine-map the RA risk locus at 19p13 to define causal variants, and explore the pleiotropic effects of these same variants in other complex traits. First, we combined Immunochip dense genotyping (n = 23,092 case/control samples), Exomechip genotyping (n = 18,409 case/control samples) and targeted exon-sequencing (n = 2,236 case/controls samples) to demonstrate that three protein-coding variants in TYK2 (tyrosine kinase 2) independently protect against RA: P1104A (rs34536443, OR = 0.66, P = 2.3x10-21), A928V (rs35018800, OR = 0.53, P = 1.2x10-9), and I684S (rs12720356, OR = 0.86, P = 4.6x10-7). Second, we show that the same three TYK2 variants protect against systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE, Pomnibus = 6x10-18), and provide suggestive evidence that two of the TYK2 variants (P1104A and A928V) may also protect against inflammatory bowel disease (IBD; Pomnibus = 0.005). Finally, in a phenome-wide association study (PheWAS) assessing >500 phenotypes using electronic medical records (EMR) in >29,000 subjects, we found no convincing evidence for association of P1104A and A928V with complex phenotypes other than autoimmune diseases such as RA, SLE and IBD. Together, our results demonstrate the role of TYK2 in the pathogenesis of RA, SLE and IBD, and provide supporting evidence for TYK2 as a promising drug target for the treatment of autoimmune diseases.
To identify putative relations between different genetic factors in the human genome in the development of common complex disease, we mapped the genetic data to an ensemble of spin chains and analysed the data as a quantum system. Each SNP is considered as a spin with three states corresponding to possible genotypes. The combined genotype represents a multispin state, described by the product of individual-spin states. Each person is characterized by a single genetic vector (GV) and individuals with identical GVs comprise the GV group. This consolidation of genotypes into GVs provides integration of multiple genetic variants for a single statistical test and excludes ambiguity of biological interpretation known for allele and haplotype associations. We analyzed two independent cohorts, with 2633 rheumatoid arthritis cases and 2108 healthy controls, and data for 6 SNPs from the HTR2A locus plus shared epitope allele. We found that GVs based on selected markers are highly informative and overlap for 98.3% of the healthy population between two cohorts. Interestingly, some of the GV groups contain either only controls or only cases, thus demonstrating extreme susceptibility or protection features. By using this new approach we confirmed previously detected univariate
associations and demonstrated the most efficient selection of SNPs for combined analyses for functional studies.
Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a complex and heritable eating disorder characterized by dangerously low body weight. Neither candidate gene studies nor an initial genome wide association study (GWAS) have yielded significant and replicated results. We performed a GWAS in 2,907 cases with AN from 14 countries (15 sites) and 14,860 ancestrally matched controls as part of the Genetic Consortium for AN (GCAN) and the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium 3 (WTCCC3). Individual association analyses were conducted in each stratum and meta-analyzed across all 15 discovery datasets. Seventy-six (72 independent) SNPs were taken forward for in silico (two datasets) or de novo (13 datasets) replication genotyping in 2,677 independent AN cases and 8,629 European ancestry controls along with 458 AN cases and 421 controls from Japan. The final global meta-analysis across discovery and replication datasets comprised 5,551 AN cases and 21,080 controls. AN subtype analyses (1,606 AN restricting; 1,445 AN binge-purge) were performed. No findings reached genome-wide significance. Two intronic variants were suggestively associated: rs9839776 (P=3.01×10-7) in SOX2OT and rs17030795 (P=5.84×10-6) in PPP3CA. Two additional signals were specific to Europeans: rs1523921 (P=5.76×10-6) between CUL3 and FAM124B and rs1886797 (P=8.05×10-6) near SPATA13. Comparing discovery to replication results, 76% of the effects were in the same direction, an observation highly unlikely to be due to chance (P=4×10-6), strongly suggesting that true findings exist but that our sample, the largest yet reported, was underpowered for their detection. The accrual of large genotyped AN case-control samples should be an immediate priority for the field.
anorexia nervosa; eating disorders; GWAS; genome-wide association study; body mass index; metabolic
To identify new genetic associations with juvenile and adult dermatomyositis (DM).
We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of adult and juvenile DM patients of European ancestry (n = 1178) and controls (n = 4724). To assess genetic overlap with other autoimmune disorders, we examined whether 141 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) outside the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) locus, and previously associated with autoimmune diseases, predispose to DM.
Compared to controls, patients with DM had a strong signal in the MHC region consisting of GWAS-level significance (P < 5x10−8) at 80 genotyped SNPs. An analysis of 141 non-MHC SNPs previously associated with autoimmune diseases showed that three SNPs linked with three genes were associated with DM, with a false discovery rate (FDR) < 0.05. These genes were phospholipase C like 1 (PLCL1, rs6738825, FDR=0.00089), B lymphoid tyrosine kinase (BLK, rs2736340, FDR=0.00031), and chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 21 (CCL21, rs951005, FDR=0.0076). None of these genes was previously reported to be associated with DM.
Our findings confirm the MHC as the major genetic region associated with DM and indicate that DM shares non-MHC genetic features with other autoimmune diseases, suggesting the presence of additional novel risk loci. This first identification of autoimmune disease genetic predispositions shared with DM may lead to enhanced understanding of pathogenesis and novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches.
dermatomyositis; adult; juvenile; shared autoimmunity genes
To identify novel genetic risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), we conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) meta-analysis of 5,539 autoantibody positive RA cases and 20,169 controls of European descent, followed by replication in an independent set of 6,768 RA cases and 8,806 controls. Of 34 SNPs selected for replication, 7 novel RA risk alleles were identified at genome-wide significance (P<5×10−8) in analysis of all 41,282 samples. The associated SNPs are near genes of known immune function, including IL6ST, SPRED2, RBPJ, CCR6, IRF5, and PXK. We also refined the risk alleles at two established RA risk loci (IL2RA and CCL21) and confirmed the association at AFF3. These new associations bring the total number of confirmed RA risk loci to 31 among individuals of European ancestry. An additional 11 SNPs replicated at P<0.05, many of which are validated autoimmune risk alleles, suggesting that most represent bona fide RA risk alleles.
Treatment strategies blocking tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) have proven very successful in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, a significant subset of patients does not respond for unknown reasons. Currently there are no means of identifying these patients prior to treatment. This study was aimed at identifying genetic factors predicting anti-TNF treatment outcome in patient with RA using a genome-wide association approach.
We conducted a multi-stage, genome-wide association study with a primary analysis of 2,557,253 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 882 RA patients receiving anti-TNF therapy included through the Dutch Rheumatoid Arthritis Monitoring (DREAM) registry and the database of Apotheekzorg. Linear regression analysis of changes in the Disease Activity Score in 28 joints after 14 weeks of treatment was performed using an additive model. Markers with a p<10−3 were selected for replication in 1,821 RA patients from three independent cohorts. Pathway analysis including all SNPs with a p-value < 10−3 was performed using Ingenuity.
Seven hundred seventy two markers demonstrated evidence of association with treatment outcome in the initial stage. Eight genetic loci showed improved p-value in the overall meta-analysis compared to the first stage, three of which (rs1568885, rs1813443 and rs4411591) showed directional consistency over all four studied cohorts. We were unable to replicate markers previously reported to be associated with anti-TNF outcome. Network analysis indicated strong involvement of biological processes underlying inflammatory response and cell morphology.
Using a multi-stage strategy, we have identified 8 genetic loci associated with response to anti-TNF treatment. Further studies are required to validate these findings in additional patient collections.
anti-TNF; gene polymorphism; pharmacogenetics; rheumatoid arthritis; genome-wide association study
A major challenge in human genetics is to devise a systematic strategy to integrate disease-associated variants with diverse genomic and biological datasets to provide insight into disease pathogenesis and guide drug discovery for complex traits such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA)1. Here, we performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) meta-analysis in a total of >100,000 subjects of European and Asian ancestries (29,880 RA cases and 73,758 controls), by evaluating ~10 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). We discovered 42 novel RA risk loci at a genome-wide level of significance, bringing the total to 1012–4. We devised an in-silico pipeline using established bioinformatics methods based on functional annotation5, cis-acting expression quantitative trait loci (cis-eQTL)6, and pathway analyses7–9 – as well as novel methods based on genetic overlap with human primary immunodeficiency (PID), hematological cancer somatic mutations and knock-out mouse phenotypes – to identify 98 biological candidate genes at these 101 risk loci. We demonstrate that these genes are the targets of approved therapies for RA, and further suggest that drugs approved for other indications may be repurposed for the treatment of RA. Together, this comprehensive genetic study sheds light on fundamental genes, pathways and cell types that contribute to RA pathogenesis, and provides empirical evidence that the genetics of RA can provide important information for drug discovery.
Genetic susceptibility to complex diseases has been intensively studied during the last decade, yet only signals with small effect have been found leaving open the possibility that subgroups within complex traits show stronger association signals. In rheumatoid arthritis (RA), autoantibody production serves as a helpful discriminator in genetic studies and today anti-citrullinated cyclic peptide (anti-CCP) antibody positivity is employed for diagnosis of disease. The HLA-DRB1 locus is known as the most important genetic contributor for the risk of RA, but is not sufficient to drive autoimmunity and additional genetic and environmental factors are involved. Hence, we addressed the association of previously discovered RA loci with disease-specific autoantibody responses in RA patients stratified by HLA-DRB1*04.
We investigated 2178 patients from three RA cohorts from Sweden and Spain for 41 genetic variants and four autoantibodies, including the generic anti-CCP as well as specific responses towards citrullinated peptides from vimentin, alpha-enolase and type II collagen.
Our data demonstrated different genetic associations of autoantibody-positive disease subgroups in relation to the presence of DRB1*04. Two specific subgroups of autoantibody-positive RA were identified. The SNP in PTPN22 was associated with presence of anti-citrullinated enolase peptide antibodies in carriers of HLA-DRB1*04 (Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel test P = 0.0001, Pcorrected <0.05), whereas SNPs in CDK6 and PADI4 were associated with anti-CCP status in DRB1*04 negative patients (Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel test P = 0.0004, Pcorrected <0.05 for both markers). Additionally we see allelic correlation with autoantibody titers for PTPN22 SNP rs2476601 and anti-citrullinated enolase peptide antibodies in carriers of HLA-DRB1*04 (Mann Whitney test P = 0.02) and between CDK6 SNP rs42041 and anti-CCP in non-carriers of HLA-DRB1*04 (Mann Whitney test P = 0.02).
These data point to alternative pathways for disease development in clinically similar RA subgroups and suggest an approach for study of genetic complexity of disease with strong contribution of HLA.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13075-014-0414-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
The interleukin 2 (IL-2) and interleukin 21 (IL-21) locus at chromosome 4q27 has been associated with several autoimmune diseases, and both genes are related to immune system functions. The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of the IL-2/IL-21 locus in systemic sclerosis (SSc).
Patients and methods
The case control study included 4493 SSc Caucasian patients and 5856 healthy controls from eight Caucasian populations (Spain, Germany, The Netherlands, USA, Italy, Sweden, UK and Norway). Four single nucleotide polymorphisms (rs2069762, rs6822844, rs6835457 and rs907715) were genotyped using TaqMan allelic discrimination assays.
We observed evidence of association of the rs6822844 and rs907715 variants with global SSc (pc=6.6E-4 and pc=7.2E-3, respectively). Similar statistically significant associations were observed for the limited cutaneous form of the disease. The conditional regression analysis suggested that the most likely genetic variation responsible for the association was the rs6822844 polymorphism. Consistently, the rs2069762A-rs6822844T-rs6835457G-rs907715T allelic combination showed evidence of association with SSc and limited cutaneous SSc subtype (pc=1.7E-03 and pc=8E-4, respectively).
These results suggested that the IL-2/IL-21 locus influences the genetic susceptibility to SSc. Moreover, this study provided further support for the IL-2/IL-21 locus as a common genetic factor in autoimmune diseases.
Integrating genetic data from families with highly penetrant forms of disease together with genetic data from outbred populations represents a promising strategy to uncover the complete frequency spectrum of risk alleles for complex traits such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Here, we demonstrate that rare, low-frequency and common alleles at one gene locus, phospholipase B1 (PLB1), might contribute to risk of RA in a 4-generation consanguineous pedigree (Middle Eastern ancestry) and also in unrelated individuals from the general population (European ancestry). Through identity-by-descent (IBD) mapping and whole-exome sequencing, we identified a non-synonymous c.2263G>C (p.G755R) mutation at the PLB1 gene on 2q23, which significantly co-segregated with RA in family members with a dominant mode of inheritance (P = 0.009). We further evaluated PLB1 variants and risk of RA using a GWAS meta-analysis of 8,875 RA cases and 29,367 controls of European ancestry. We identified significant contributions of two independent non-coding variants near PLB1 with risk of RA (rs116018341 [MAF = 0.042] and rs116541814 [MAF = 0.021], combined P = 3.2×10−6). Finally, we performed deep exon sequencing of PLB1 in 1,088 RA cases and 1,088 controls (European ancestry), and identified suggestive dispersion of rare protein-coding variant frequencies between cases and controls (P = 0.049 for C-alpha test and P = 0.055 for SKAT). Together, these data suggest that PLB1 is a candidate risk gene for RA. Future studies to characterize the full spectrum of genetic risk in the PLB1 genetic locus are warranted.
Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a complex and heritable eating disorder characterized by dangerously low body weight. Neither candidate gene studies nor an initial genome wide association study (GWAS) have yielded significant and replicated results. We performed a GWAS in 2,907 cases with AN from 14 countries (15 sites) and 14,860 ancestrally matched controls as part of the Genetic Consortium for AN (GCAN) and the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium 3 (WTCCC3). Individual association analyses were conducted in each stratum and meta-analyzed across all 15 discovery datasets. Seventy-six (72 independent) SNPs were taken forward for in silico (two datasets) or de novo (13 datasets) replication genotyping in 2,677 independent AN cases and 8,629 European ancestry controls along with 458 AN cases and 421 controls from Japan. The final global meta-analysis across discovery and replication datasets comprised 5,551 AN cases and 21,080 controls. AN subtype analyses (1,606 AN restricting; 1,445 AN binge-purge) were performed. No findings reached genome-wide significance. Two intronic variants were suggestively associated: rs9839776 (P=3.01×10−7) in SOX2OT and rs17030795 (P=5.84×10−6) in PPP3CA. Two additional signals were specific to Europeans: rs1523921 (P=5.76×10−6) between CUL3 and FAM124B and rs1886797 (P=8.05×10−6) near SPATA13. Comparing discovery to replication results, 76% of the effects were in the same direction, an observation highly unlikely to be due to chance (P= 4×10−6), strongly suggesting that true findings exist but that our sample, the largest yet reported, was underpowered for their detection. The accrual of large genotyped AN case-control samples should be an immediate priority for the field.
anorexia nervosa; eating disorders; GWAS; genome-wide association study; body mass index; metabolic
genetic association study; disease genetics; immunogenetics; liver
Naturally acquired microchimerism may arise in the mother and her child during pregnancy when bidirectional trafficking of cells occurs through the placental barrier. The occurrence of maternal microchimerism (maternal cells in the offspring) has been associated with several autoimmune diseases, especially in children. Systemic Lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disorder with a resemblance to graft-versus-host disease. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between maternal microchimerism in the blood and SLE.
Thirty-two patients with SLE, 17 healthy brothers of the patients, and an additional 12 unrelated healthy men were the subjects in this study. A single-nucleotide polymorphism unique to each mother was identified, and maternal microchimerism in the study group and in the control group was detected using a quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction technique. No differences in the frequency or the concentration of maternal cells were apparent in the blood of patients with SLE or in that of the controls. Two patients and one control tested positive for maternal microchimerism, but the positive subjects were all negative at a follow-up 16 years later. The sensitivity of the method was estimated to 1/10.000.
These results show no association between SLE and maternal microchimerism. The frequency of maternal microchimerism in the blood of adults overall may be lower than earlier reported.
Recent genome-wide association studies (GWASs) conducted in Asian populations have identified novel risk loci for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Here, we genotyped 10 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in eight such loci and investigated their disease associations in three independent Caucasian SLE case–control cohorts recruited from Sweden, Finland and the United States. The disease associations of the SNPs in ETS1, IKZF1, LRRC18-WDFY4, RASGRP3, SLC15A4, TNIP1 and 16p11.2 were replicated, whereas no solid evidence of association was observed for the 7q11.23 locus in the Caucasian cohorts. SLC15A4 was significantly associated with renal involvement in SLE. The association of TNIP1 was more pronounced in SLE patients with renal and immunological disorder, which is corroborated by two previous studies in Asian cohorts. The effects of all the associated SNPs, either conferring risk for or being protective against SLE, were in the same direction in Caucasians and Asians. The magnitudes of the allelic effects for most of the SNPs were also comparable across different ethnic groups. On the contrary, remarkable differences in allele frequencies between Caucasian and Asian populations were observed for all associated SNPs. In conclusion, most of the novel SLE risk loci identified by GWASs in Asian populations were also associated with SLE in Caucasian populations. We observed both similarities and differences with respect to the effect sizes and risk allele frequencies across ethnicities.
systemic lupus erythematosus; genetic-association study; Asian; Caucasian
Epigenetic mechanisms integrate genetic and environmental causes of disease. Comprehensive genome-wide analyses of epigenetic modifications have not demonstrated robust association with common diseases. Using Illumina HumanMethylation450 arrays on 354 ACPA positive rheumatoid arthritis (RA) cases and 337 controls, we identified two clusters within the MHC region whose differential methylation potentially mediates genetic risk for RA. To reduce confounding hampering previous epigenome-wide studies, we corrected for cellular heterogeneity by estimating and adjusting for cell-type proportions and used mediation analysis to filter out associations likely consequential to disease. Four CpGs also showed association between genotype and variance of methylation in addition to mean. The associations for both clusters replicated at least one CpG (p<0.01), with the rest showing suggestive association, in monocytes in an independent 12 cases and 12 controls. Thus, DNA methylation is a potential mediator of genetic risk.