Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

6 new Sjögren's syndrome genes found by international team

Date:
October 6, 2013
Source:
Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation
Summary:
Six new Sjögren's syndrome-related genes have been discovered by an international group of researchers in a genome-wide association study. Previously, only one Sjögren's gene was known.

With the completion of the first genome-wide association study for Sjögren's syndrome, an international coalition of researchers led by scientists at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation has identified six new disease-related genes.

Their work appears in the journal Nature Genetics.

Sjögren's syndrome is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system becomes confused and turns against the body's moisture-producing glands, damaging the ability to produce saliva or tears. Common symptoms include dry eyes and dry mouth, but the disease can also affect other organs and cause a variety of additional symptoms including severe fatigue, arthritis and memory problems.

The Sjögren's Syndrome Foundation estimates as many as 4 million Americans have the disease. Despite outnumbering patients with lupus, multiple sclerosis and other more commonly recognized autoimmune diseases, research into Sjögren's has been slow, said OMRF scientist Kathy Sivils, Ph.D.

"One problem has always been identifying true Sjögren's patients and collecting enough samples, partly because there's still disagreement on the criteria for the disease and clinical testing is not easy," she said. "So much work goes into classifying patients that it makes building collections of samples more difficult."

This research required Sjögren's researchers from around the world putting together about 2,000 patient samples, which were tested against more than 7,000 healthy controls.

The results were exactly what the researchers were hoping to see. In addition to the previously known HLA gene related to the disease, the group was able to identify six new Sjögren's genes and begin working to understand their functions.

"This is a first step," said OMRF scientist Christopher Lessard, Ph.D., lead author of the paper. "Now that we've identified these genes, we can dig down and start to understand how these genetic variants alter normal functions of the immune system."

So far, the international team of researchers led by Sivils, called the Sjögren's Genetics Network, or SGENE, has found these disease-related genes:

  • IRF5 and STAT4 which are "master regulators" that activate cells during an immune response
  • CXCR5 directs traffic for lymphocytes and may help explain why immune cells target moisture-producing glands.
  • TNIP1 is a binding partner with another autoimmune disease-related gene, TNFAIP3, which "cuts the brakes" on the immune system.
  • IL12A is one subunit of a protein that acts as a messenger between cells and modulates immune responses.
  • BLK is a B-cell gene which might account for increased numbers of antibodies.

Currently, the only treatment for Sjögren's syndrome is to target symptoms. Patients with chronic dry mouth use artificial saliva to chew and swallow. Dry eyes, which sometimes are difficult to open or blink, require artificial tears to function.

"I know it's a long ways off, but I hope these discoveries will open the door for researchers to find therapeutics that work at the genetic level to stop the disease," she said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Christopher J Lessard, He Li, Indra Adrianto, John a Ice, Astrid Rasmussen, et al. Variants at multiple loci implicated in both innate and adaptive immune responses are associated with Sjögren's syndrome. Nature Genetics, October 2013

Cite This Page:

Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. "6 new Sjögren's syndrome genes found by international team." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131006142446.htm>.
Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. (2013, October 6). 6 new Sjögren's syndrome genes found by international team. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131006142446.htm
Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. "6 new Sjögren's syndrome genes found by international team." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131006142446.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) — Nine-month-old Wyatt Scott was born with a rare disorder called congenital trismus, which prevents him from opening his mouth. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) — In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) — A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) — The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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