Genetic variants in a region on chromosome 6 are associated with risk of rheumatoid arthritis, report two studies online in Nature Genetics. Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common inflammatory arthritis, affecting up to 1% of the adult population, and these variants join a very short list of confirmed genetic factors that affect susceptibility to the disease.
Robert Plenge and colleagues carried out a genome-wide association study of individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, identifying a variant on chromosome 6, which was very close to a different variant on chromosome 6 identified in previous studies. They show that these variants probably independently contribute to risk of the disease.
In a separate study, Jane Worthington and colleagues attempted to replicate all variants identified in a recent comprehensive report, and found that the one on chromosome 6 was unequivocally replicated. Although these variants are not located in a gene, the authors suggest that a gene some distance from them (TNFAIP3) is a plausible candidate to explain the effects of these markers, given its involvement in inflammatory processes.
Robert Plenge (Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, Cambridge, MA, USA)
Jane Worthington (University of Manchester, UK)
Abstracts available online:
(C) Nature Genetics press release.
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