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1.  On the Wegener granulomatosis associated region on chromosome 6p21.3 
BMC Medical Genetics  2006;7:21.
Wegener granulomatosis (WG) belongs to the heterogeneous group of systemic vasculitides. The multifactorial pathophysiology of WG is supposedly caused by yet unknown environmental influence(s) on the basis of genetic predisposition. The presence of anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA) in the plasma of patients and genetic involvement of the human leukocyte antigen system reflect an autoimmune background of the disease. Strong associations were revealed with WG by markers located in the major histocompatibility complex class II (MHC II) region in the vicinity of human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DPB1 and the retinoid X receptor B (RXRB) loci. In order to define the involvement of the 6p21.3 region in WG in more detail this previous population-based association study was expanded here to the respective 3.6 megabase encompassing this region on chromosome 6. The RXRB gene was analysed as well as a splice-site variation of the butyrophilin-like (BTNL2) gene which is also located within the respective region. The latter polymorphism has been evaluated here as it appears as a HLA independent susceptibility factor in another granulomatous disorder, sarcoidosis.
150–180 German WG patients and a corresponding cohort of healthy controls (n = 100–261) were used in a two-step study. A panel of 94 microsatellites was designed for the initial step using a DNA pooling approach. Markers with significantly differing allele frequencies between patient and control pools were individually genotyped. The RXRB gene was analysed for single strand conformation polymorphisms (SSCP) and restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLP). The splice-site polymorphism in the BTNL2 gene was also investigated by RFLP analysis.
A previously investigated microsatellite (#, Santa Cruz genome browser (UCSC) May 2004 Freeze localisation: chr6:31257596-34999883), which was used as a positive control, remained associated throughout the whole two-step approach. Yet, no additional evidence for association of other microsatellite markers was found in the entire investigated region. Analysis of the RXRB gene located in the WG associated region revealed associations of two variations (rs10548957 pallelic = 0.02 and rs6531 pallelic = 5.20 × 10-5, OR = 1.88). Several alleles of markers located between HLA-DPB1, SNP rs6531 and microsatellite showed linkage disequilibrium with r2 values exceeding 0.10. Significant differences were not demonstrable for the sarcoidosis associated splice-site variation (rs2076530 pallelic = 0.80) in our WG cohort.
Since a microsatellite flanking the RXRB gene and two intragenic polymorphisms are associated significantly with WG on chromosome 6p21.3, further investigations should be focussed on extensive fine-mapping in this region by densely mapping with additional markers such as SNPs. This strategy may reveal even deeper insights into the genetic contributions of the respective region for the pathogenesis of WG.
PMCID: PMC1431512  PMID: 16526951
2.  On the genetic involvement of apoptosis-related genes in Crohn's disease as revealed by an extended association screen using 245 markers: no evidence for new predisposing factors 
Crohn's disease (CD) presents as an inflammatory barrier disease with characteristic destructive processes in the intestinal wall. Although the pathomechanisms of CD are still not exactly understood, there is evidence that, in addition to e.g. bacterial colonisation, genetic predisposition contributes to the development of CD. In order to search for predisposing genetic factors we scrutinised 245 microsatellite markers in a population-based linkage mapping study. These microsatellites cover gene loci the encoded protein of which take part in the regulation of apoptosis and (innate) immune processes. Respective loci contribute to the activation/suppression of apoptosis, are involved in signal transduction and cell cycle regulators or they belong to the tumor necrosis factor superfamily, caspase related genes or the BCL2 family. Furthermore, several cytokines as well as chemokines were included. The approach is based on three steps: analyzing pooled DNAs of patients and controls, verification of significantly differing microsatellite markers by genotyping individual DNA samples and, finally, additional reinvestigation of the respective gene in the region covered by the associated microsatellite by analysing single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Using this step-wise process we were unable to demonstrate evidence for genetic predisposition of the chosen apoptosis- and immunity-related genes with respect to susceptibility for CD.
PMCID: PMC1315346  PMID: 16318629
3.  An extended association screen in multiple sclerosis using 202 microsatellite markers targeting apoptosis-related genes does not reveal new predisposing factors 
Apoptosis, the programmed death of cells, plays a distinct role in the etiopathogenesis of Multiple sclerosis (MS), a common disease of the central nervous system with complex genetic background. Yet, it is not clear whether the impact of apoptosis is due to altered apoptotic behaviour caused by variations of apoptosis-related genes. Instead, apoptosis in MS may also represent a secondary response to cellular stress during acute inflammation in the central nervous system. Here, we screened 202 apoptosis-related genes for association by genotyping 202 microsatellite markers in initially 160 MS patients and 160 controls, both divided in 4 sets of pooled DNA samples, respectively. When applying Bonferroni correction, no significant differences in allele frequencies were detected between MS patients and controls. Nevertheless, we chose 7 markers for retyping in individual DNA samples, thereby eliminating 6 markers from the list of candidates. The remaining candidate, the ERBB3 gene microsatellite, was genotyped in additional 245 MS patients and controls. No association of the ERBB3 marker with the disease was detected in these additional cohorts. In consequence, we did not find further evidence for apoptosis-related genes as predisposition factors in MS.
PMCID: PMC1215511  PMID: 16143043
4.  Association study with Wegener granulomatosis of the human phospholipase Cγ2 gene 
Wegener Granulomatosis (WG) is a multifactorial disease of yet unknown aetiology characterized by granulomata of the respiratory tract and systemic necrotizing vasculitis. Analyses of candidate genes revealed several associations, e.g. with α(1)-antitrypsin, proteinase 3 and with the HLA-DPB1 locus. A mutation in the abnormal limb mutant 5 (ALI5) mouse in the region coding for the hydrophobic ridge loop 3 (HRL3) of the phospholipaseCγ2 (PLCγ-2) gene, corresponding to human PLCγ-2 exon 27, leads to acute and chronic inflammation and granulomatosis. For that reason, we screened exons 11, 12 and 13 coding for the hydrophobic ridge loop 1 and 2 (HRL1 and 2, respectively) and exon 27 of the PLCγ-2 protein by single strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP), sequencing and PCR/ restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analyses. In addition, we screened indirectly for disease association via 4 microsatellites with pooled DNA in the PLCγ-2 gene.
Although a few polymorphisms in these distinct exons were observed, significant differences in allele frequencies were not identified between WG patients and respective controls. In addition, the microsatellite analyses did not reveal a significant difference between our patient and control cohort.
This report does not reveal any hints for an involvement of the PLCγ-2 gene in the pathogenesis of WG in our case-control study.
PMCID: PMC549077  PMID: 15703080
5.  Glutathione S-Transferase Ω 1 variation does not influence age at onset of Huntington's disease 
Huntington's disease (HD) is a fully penetrant, autosomal dominantly inherited disorder associated with abnormal expansions of a stretch of perfect CAG repeats in the 5' part of the IT15 gene. The number of repeat units is highly predictive for the age at onset (AO) of the disorder. But AO is only modestly correlated with repeat length when intermediate HD expansions are considered. Circumstantial evidence suggests that additional features of the HD course are based on genetic traits. Therefore, it may be possible to investigate the genetic background of HD, i.e. to map the loci underlying the development and progression of the disease. Recently an association of Glutathione S-Transferase Ω 1 (GSTO1) and possibly of GSTO2 with AO was demonstrated for, both, Alzheimer's (AD) and Parkinson's disease (PD).
We have genotyped the polymorphisms rs4925 GSTO1 and rs2297235 GSTO2 in 232 patients with HD and 228 controls.
After genotyping GSTO1 and GSTO2 polymorphisms, firstly there was no statistically significant difference in AO for HD patients, as well as secondly for HD patients vs. controls concerning, both, genotype and allele frequencies, respectively.
The GSTO1 and GSTO2 genes flanked by the investigated polymorphisms are not comprised in a primary candidate region influencing AO in HD.
PMCID: PMC394327  PMID: 15040808

Results 1-5 (5)