The BTNL2 gene and sarcoidosis susceptibility in African Americans and Whites

Am J Hum Genet. 2005 Sep;77(3):491-9. doi: 10.1086/444435. Epub 2005 Jul 20.


The BTNL2 gene is a member of the B7 receptor family that probably functions as a T-cell costimulatory molecule. It resides in the class II major histocompatibility complex (MHC) region of chromosome 6p and has recently been associated with sarcoidosis susceptibility in a white German population. We sought to replicate the BTNL2 association in an African American family-based study population (n=219 nuclear families) and two case-control populations--one African American (n=295 pairs) and one white (n=366 pairs). Ten SNPs were detected within a 490-bp region spanning exon/intron 5 of BTNL2. Haplotype variation within this region was significantly associated with sarcoidosis in all three study populations but more so in whites (P=.0006) than in the African American case-control (P=.02) or family-based (P=.03) samples. The previously reported BTNL2 SNP with the strongest sarcoidosis association, rs2076530, was also the SNP with the strongest association in our white population (P<.0001). The A allele of rs2076530 results in a premature exon-splice site and increases risk for sarcoidosis (odds ratio=2.03; 95% confidence interval 1.32-3.12). Although rs2076530 was not associated with sarcoidosis in either African American sample, a three-locus haplotype that included rs2076530 was associated with sarcoidosis across all three study samples. Multivariable logistic regression analyses showed that BTNL2 effects are independent of human leukocyte antigen class II genes in whites but may interact antagonistically in African Americans. Our results underscore the complexity of genetic risk for sarcoidosis emanating from the MHC region.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Black or African American / genetics*
  • Butyrophilins
  • DNA Primers
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / genetics*
  • Haplotypes / genetics
  • Humans
  • Linkage Disequilibrium
  • Logistic Models
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Sarcoidosis / genetics*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • United States
  • White People / genetics*


  • BTNL2 protein, human
  • Butyrophilins
  • DNA Primers
  • Membrane Glycoproteins