Background & aims: Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is an organ-specific autoimmune disease of still unidentified genetic etiology that is characterized by chronic inflammation of the liver. Since cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4 (CTLA4) polymorphisms have recently been linked with PBC susceptibility in studies on Caucasians, we investigated the genetic association between CTLA4 polymorphisms and PBC in a Japanese population.
Methods: Five single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the CTLA4 gene (rs733618, rs5742909, rs231775, rs3087243, and rs231725) were genotyped in 308 patients with PBC and 268 healthy controls using a TaqMan assay.
Results: One CTLA4 gene SNP (rs231725) was significantly associated with susceptibility to anti-mitochondrial antibody (AMA)-positive PBC, but clinical significance disappeared after correction for multiple testing. Moreover, CTLA4 gene SNPs did not influence AMA development or disease progression to orthotopic liver transplantation in our Japanese cohort. In haplotype analyses, one haplotype [haplotype 1 (CGGA)] at rs5742909, rs231775, rs3087243, and rs231725, was significantly associated with susceptibility to both AMA-positive PBC and overall PBC.
Conclusions: This study showed that CTLA4 gene polymorphisms had a modest, but significant association with susceptibility to PBC in the Japanese population. The connection between genetic variants and the function of the CTLA4 gene remains to be addressed in future investigations.
Copyright 2010 European Association for the Study of the Liver. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.