Genome-Wide Analysis Identifies a Quantitative Trait Locus in the MHC Class II Region Associated with Generalized Vitiligo Age of Onset (Journal of Investigative Dermatology)

Journal of Investigative Dermatology (2011) 131, 1308–1312; doi:10.1038/jid.2011.12; published online 17 February 2011

Abstract

Journal of investigate DermatologyGeneralized vitiligo is a common autoimmune disease in which acquired patchy depigmentation of skin, hair, and mucous membranes results from loss of melanocytes from involved areas. Previous genetic analyses have focused on vitiligo susceptibility, and have identified a number of genes involved in disease risk. Age of onset of generalized vitiligo also involves a substantial genetic component, but has not previously been studied systematically. In this study, we report a genome-wide association study of vitiligo age of onset in 1,339 generalized vitiligo patients, with replication in an independent cohort of 677 cases. We identified a quantitative trait locus for vitiligo age of onset in the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II region, located near c6orf10-BTNL2 (rs7758128; P=8.14 × 10−11), a region that is also associated with generalized vitiligo susceptibility. In contrast, there was no association of vitiligo age of onset with any other MHC or non-MHC loci that are associated with vitiligo susceptibility. These findings highlight the differing roles played by genes involved in vitiligo susceptibility versus vitiligo age of onset, and illustrate that genome-wide analyses can be used to identify genes involved in quantitative aspects of disease natural history, as well as disease susceptibility per se.

Abbreviations:

MHC, major histocompatibility complex; SNP, single-nucleotide polymorphism

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