Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Leprosy susceptibility genes identified; largest genome-wide association study of an infectious disease

Date:
December 17, 2009
Source:
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore
Summary:
In the first genome-wide association study of leprosy and the largest on an infectious disease, scientists in Singapore and China identified seven genes that increase an individual's susceptibility to leprosy.

In the first genome-wide association study (GWAS) of leprosy and the largest GWAS on an infectious disease, scientists at the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) and 26 institutes in China identified seven genes that increase an individual's susceptibility to leprosy.

The discovery of these genes, reported in the 16 Dec. 2009 New England Journal of Medicine, highlights the important role of the innate immune response in the development of leprosy, said the scientists, who analyzed over 10,000 samples from leprosy patients and healthy controls in China.

"Though leprosy is not common, the discoveries have significant ramifications for chronic infectious disorders and for host-pathogen interactions in other more prevalent mycobacterial diseases such as tuberculosis, said Edison Liu, M.D., Executive Director of GIS, one of the research institutes sponsored by Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR).

"This study represents one of the largest and best organized studies of the host genetics in infectious diseases published," added Dr. Liu.

An immunologist who was not one of the authors of the NEJM paper, Tom H. M. Ottenhoff, M.D., Ph.D., of Leiden University Medical Center in The Netherlands, said,

"This is a very impressive study, which uncovers entirely new genes that control susceptibility to leprosy and perhaps also other related diseases. A great asset is that the study underpins the genetic data with plausible functional biology experimentation, which is not often seen."

Dr. Ottenhoff is Professor in Immunology, Head group Immunology and Immunogenetics of Bacterial Infectious Diseases, at Leiden University Medical Center.

The seven genes associated with susceptibility to leprosy are: CCDC122, C13orf31, NOD2, TNFSF15, HLA-DR, RIPK2 and LRRK2.

"This is a very significant find, and one that can only be achieved through large-scale genetic studies, with close collaborative efforts among multi-disciplinary research groups, often across different countries," said Jianjun Liu, Ph.D., Human Genetics Group Leader at the GIS.

"The discovery of these genes is a major breakthrough for research in leprosy and infectious diseases in general, and will be significant in the early diagnosis and development of new treatments," added Dr. Liu.

In addition to Dr. Liu, the leaders of the GWAS on leprosy included: Fu-Ren Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., of Shandong Provincial Institute of Dermatology and Venereology, and Xue-jun Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., of Institute of Dermatology and Department of Dermatology at No.1 Hospital, Anhui Medical University, China.

GIS Executive Director Dr. Liu noted, , "This is a continuation of a number of deep collaborative studies between the GIS and Chinese scientists in using population sciences to uncover genetic modifiers of human disease. The strength of Chinese clinical sciences and of Singapore's targeted genomic capabilities makes a powerful scientific combination. The key to this collaboration and one that was recently published on the genetics of Asian migration is that the studies were initiated and executed by Asian partners acting as equals. Hopefully, this will initiate a new phase of cooperation between historically competing Asian countries whose primary links have been with western communities."

Leprosy, a chronic infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium leprae (M. leprae), mainly affects skin and peripheral nerves and may lead to irreversible disabilities. Although it has been largely eliminated in developed countries, leprosy is still a major public health problem in many developing countries, particularly in tropic and sub-tropic regions. According to the World Health Organization, 254,525 new cases of leprosy were diagnosed in 2007. Although many people are potentially exposed to M. leprae in endemic regions, only a small minority will be infected and will develop clinically overt leprosy, suggesting that only some individuals are susceptible to this disease.

Because M. leprae cannot be cultured in the laboratory, and because it only infects humans and the Armadillo, research and thus the biological understanding of leprosy are very limited. The discovery of the seven susceptibility genes not only improves scientists' understanding about genetic susceptibility to the disease, but also may stimulate additional biological and clinical research to reveal the mechanism of leprosy development.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Zhang et al. Genomewide association study of leprosy. New England Journal of Medicine, 2009 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa0903753

Cite This Page:

Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore. "Leprosy susceptibility genes identified; largest genome-wide association study of an infectious disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091216203441.htm>.
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore. (2009, December 17). Leprosy susceptibility genes identified; largest genome-wide association study of an infectious disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091216203441.htm
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore. "Leprosy susceptibility genes identified; largest genome-wide association study of an infectious disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091216203441.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Costs Keep Mounting

Ebola Costs Keep Mounting

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 23, 2014) The WHO has warned up to 20,000 people could be infected with Ebola over the next few weeks. As Sonia Legg reports, the implications for the West African countries suffering from the disease are huge. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Ebola Cases to Triple in Weeks Without Drastic Action

WHO: Ebola Cases to Triple in Weeks Without Drastic Action

AFP (Sep. 23, 2014) The number of Ebola infections will triple to 20,000 by November, soaring by thousands every week if efforts to stop the outbreak are not stepped up radically, the WHO warned in a study on Tuesday. Duration: 01:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
5 Ways Men Can Prevent Most Heart Attacks

5 Ways Men Can Prevent Most Heart Attacks

Newsy (Sep. 23, 2014) No surprise here: A recent study says men can reduce their risk of heart attack by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which includes daily exercise. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) Liberia's finance minister is urging the international community to quickly follow through on pledges of cash to battle Ebola. Bodies are piling up in the capital Monrovia as the nation awaits more help. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins