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Genes related to vitiligo identified

Date:
October 10, 2016
Source:
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
Summary:
A research team has been searching for potential causes of vitiligo, an autoimmune disease that gives rise to patches of white skin and hair. In a new report, they announce they have identified 23 locations on the human genome that are newly linked to susceptibility for vitiligo.
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For the past decade, Richard Spritz's lab at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus has been searching for potential causes of vitiligo, an autoimmune disease that gives rise to patches of white skin and hair.

In a study published in the Oct. 10 edition of the journal Nature Genetics, Richard Spritz, MD, Professor and Director of the Human Medical Genetics and Genomics Program at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and a team of international researchers announce they have identified 23 locations on the human genome that are newly linked to susceptibility for vitiligo.

By identifying these genes, the investigators can provide a framework for the genetic architecture and biological mechanisms of vitiligo, highlight relationships with other autoimmune diseases and melanoma and offer potential targets for treatment.

"This study doubles the number of known genes involved in risk for vitiligo," said Spritz.

Spritz and his fellow researchers conducted genome-wide association studies on 4,680 people with vitiligo and 39,586 control cases and found the genes that provide a framework for the genetic architecture and biological mechanisms of vitiligo and highlight relationships with other autoimmune diseases and melanoma.

Spritz's lab is trying to identify causal mutations in these genes by using DNA sequencing and genetic studies involving a large number of vitiligo patients from various different ethnic groups. This study focused on subjects of European ancestry.

"One of the purposes of the genome project was to give us the tools to do more complicated disease analysis," said Spritz. "What's emerging in general for complex diseases is that it is changes in gene regulation rather than gene structure that are causes."

A better understanding of the causes of vitiligo could also lead to breakthroughs in other conditions. Vitiligo is epidemiologically associated with several other autoimmune diseases, including autoimmune thyroid disease, pernicious anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, adult-onset type 1 diabetes, Addison's disease, and lupus. The researchers found associations between genes indicated in some of those conditions and vitiligo, and while it remains uncertain whether they reflect shared or different causes, it offers promising areas for future research.


Story Source:

Materials provided by University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ying Jin, Genevieve Andersen, Daniel Yorgov, Tracey M Ferrara, Songtao Ben, Kelly M Brownson, Paulene J Holland, Stanca A Birlea, Janet Siebert, Anke Hartmann, Anne Lienert, Nanja van Geel, Jo Lambert, Rosalie M Luiten, Albert Wolkerstorfer, J P Wietze van der Veen, Dorothy C Bennett, Alain Taïeb, Khaled Ezzedine, E Helen Kemp, David J Gawkrodger, Anthony P Weetman, Sulev Kõks, Ele Prans, Külli Kingo, Maire Karelson, Margaret R Wallace, Wayne T McCormack, Andreas Overbeck, Silvia Moretti, Roberta Colucci, Mauro Picardo, Nanette B Silverberg, Mats Olsson, Yan Valle, Igor Korobko, Markus Böhm, Henry W Lim, Iltefat Hamzavi, Li Zhou, Qing-Sheng Mi, Pamela R Fain, Stephanie A Santorico, Richard A Spritz. Genome-wide association studies of autoimmune vitiligo identify 23 new risk loci and highlight key pathways and regulatory variants. Nature Genetics, 2016; DOI: 10.1038/ng.3680

Cite This Page:

University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. "Genes related to vitiligo identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 October 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/10/161010135929.htm>.
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. (2016, October 10). Genes related to vitiligo identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 26, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/10/161010135929.htm
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. "Genes related to vitiligo identified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/10/161010135929.htm (accessed May 26, 2017).

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