Polymorphisms in genes encoding leptin, ghrelin and their receptors in German multiple sclerosis patients

Mol Cell Probes. 2011 Oct-Dec;25(5-6):255-9. doi: 10.1016/j.mcp.2011.05.004. Epub 2011 Jun 12.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neuro-inflammatory, autoimmune disease influenced by environmental and polygenic components. There is growing evidence that the peptide hormone leptin, known to regulate energy homeostasis, as well as its antagonist ghrelin play an important role in inflammatory processes in autoimmune diseases, including MS. Recently, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the genes encoding leptin, ghrelin and their receptors were evaluated, amongst others, in Wegener's granulomatosis and Churg-Strauss syndrome. The Lys656Asn SNP in the LEPR gene showed a significant but contrasting association with these vasculitides. We therefore aimed at investigating these polymorphisms in a German MS case-control cohort. Twelve SNPs in the LEP, LEPR, GHRL and GHSR genes were genotyped in 776 MS patients and 878 control subjects. We found an association of a haplotype in the GHSR gene with MS that could not be replicated in a second cohort. Otherwise, no significant differences in allele or genotype frequencies were observed between patients and controls in this particular cohort. Thus, the present results do not support the hypothesis that genetic variation in the leptin/ghrelin system contributes substantially to the pathogenesis of MS. However, a modest effect of GHSR variation cannot be ruled out and needs to be further evaluated in future studies.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alleles
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genotype
  • Germany
  • Ghrelin / genetics*
  • Haplotypes
  • Humans
  • Leptin / genetics*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / genetics*
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Receptors, Ghrelin / genetics*
  • Receptors, Leptin / genetics*
  • White People / genetics*


  • Ghrelin
  • Leptin
  • Receptors, Ghrelin
  • Receptors, Leptin