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Allergic rhinitis risk genes found

Wednesday July 18th, 2018

Scientists in Germany have reported new insights into the genetics of allergic rhinitis.

Dr Marie Standl of Helmholtz Zentrum Munchen, in Munich, Germany, and her team compared the genome of around 60,000 patients with allergic rhinitis with over 150,000 healthy similar individuals.

This highlighted 42 significant risky genetic variants, some of which were previously linked to allergic rhinitis. The 20 novel risk genes were then confirmed using genetic information from another 60,000 patients and 620,000 healthy people.

Some of the genetic variants lead to the changes of amino acids in the HLA region, which is relevant for the binding of allergens.

Existing genetic databases were then used to investigate which functions could be assigned to these genes, showing that most were linked to the immune system.

A strong overlap of risk genes for allergic rhinitis and autoimmune diseases was seen, and was described in the journal Nature Genetics on Monday (16 July).

Dr Standl said: "The higher the number of study participants, the more reliable conclusions we can draw. The identified risk genes can explain about eight per cent of all cases of allergic rhinitis."

Co-author Dr Klaus Bonnelykke added: "The risk loci we have identified can help understanding the mechanisms causing allergic rhinitis and hopefully also to find targets for treatment and prevention.

"Still, the genes we identified only partly explain why so many people develop allergic rhinitis. One important next step is to understand how risk genes interact with our environment."

Waage, J. et al. Genome-wide association and HLA fine-mapping studies identify risk loci and genetic pathways underlying allergic rhinitis. Nature Genetics 16 July 2018, doi: 10.1038/s41588-018-0157-1

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41588-018-0157-1

Tags: Allergies & Asthma | Europe | Genetics | Respiratory

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