Scientists have identified variants in seven genomic regions that predispose to coeliac disease. The research, published online in Nature Genetics, strengthens the idea that common factors predispose to a range of autoimmune disorders, such as coeliac disease and type 1 diabetes.
Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine that is caused by a reaction to a gluten protein found in wheat, rye and barley, requiring affected individuals to eat a gluten-free diet.
In a study last year, David van Heel and colleagues carried out a genome-wide association study of coeliac disease, and identified a region on chromosome 4 affecting risk. They have now analyzed additional candidate risk variants in individuals with and without the disease, and report seven new regions that are associated with susceptibility. Of the seven, six contain genes that control immune responses, and their identification refines knowledge of the specific immune pathways involved in the etiology of the disease.
David van Heel (Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, UK)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature Genetics press release.
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