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Mar 3, 2008

Investigators Find Seven Regions Associated with Celiac Disease

  • An international team of scientists report the discovery of seven previously unknown gene regions that are risk factors for celiac disease. Along with two regions already identified in relation to this disease, two among the new findings were found to share risk regions with type 1 diabetes.

    Previously, the researcher team’s genome-wide association study identified a second genetic risk factor, IL2–IL21, for coeliac disease. HLA was the first associated region discovered, according to the scientists.

    To identify additional risk variants, the ivnestigators assessed around 1,000 of the strongest markers in a further 5,000 or so samples. Their results showed seven new risk regions. Also, six of these, CCR3, IL12A, IL18RAP, RGS1, SH2B3 (nsSNP rs3184504), and TAGA, reportedly harbor genes critical in the control of immune responses.

    The team further demonstrated that of the nine celiac gene regions now known, four of these, HLA-DQ, IL2–IL21, CCR3, and SH2B3, are also predisposing factors for type 1 diabetes.

    The three main contributing investigators involved in the study had affiliations to The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, University Medical Center Utrecht, Institute of Molecular Medicine, and the University of Groningen. Their research was published online March 2 in Nature Genetics.

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