Exomic sequencing of immune-related genes reveals novel candidate variants associated with alopecia universalis
OPEN PloS one | 18 Jan 2013
S Lee, SH Paik, HJ Kim, HH Ryu, S Cha, SJ Jo, HC Eun, JS Seo, JI Kim and OS Kwon
Alopecia areata (AA) is a common autoimmune disorder mostly presented as round patches of hair loss and subclassified into alopecia totalis/alopecia universalis (AT/AU) based on the area of alopecia. Although AA is relatively common, only 5% of AA patients progress to AT/AU, which affect the whole scalp and whole body respectively. To determine genetic determinants of this orphan disease, we undertook whole-exome sequencing of 6 samples from AU patients, and 26 variants in immune-related genes were selected as candidates. When an additional 14 AU samples were genotyped for these candidates, 6 of them remained at the level of significance in comparison with 155 Asian controls (p<1.92×10(-3)). Linkage disequilibrium was observed between some of the most significant SNPs, including rs41559420 of HLA-DRB5 (p<0.001, OR 44.57) and rs28362679 of BTNL2 (p<0.001, OR 30.21). While BTNL2 was reported as a general susceptibility gene of AA previously, HLA-DRB5 has not been implicated in AA. In addition, we found several genetic variants in novel genes (HLA-DMB, TLR1, and PMS2) and discovered an additional locus on HLA-A, a known susceptibility gene of AA. This study provides further evidence for the association of previously reported genes with AA and novel findings such as HLA-DRB5, which might represent a hidden culprit gene for AU.
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