Combinations of susceptibility genes are associated with higher risk for multiple sclerosis and imply disease course specificity.

Research paper by Denis A DA Akkad, Alexandra A Olischewsky, Franziska F Reiner, Kerstin K Hellwig, Sarika S Esser, Jörg T JT Epplen, Tomaz T Curk, Ralf R Gold, Aiden A Haghikia

Indexed on: 27 May '15Published on: 27 May '15Published in: PloS one


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic autoimmune disease of the central nervous system that predominantly affects young adults. The genetic contributions to this multifactorial disease were underscored by a genome wide association study (GWAS) conducted by the International Multiple Sclerosis Genetic Consortium in a multinational cohort prompting the discovery of 57 non-MHC MS-associated common genetic variants. Hitherto, few of these newly reported variants have been replicated in larger independent patient cohorts. We genotyped a cohort of 1033 MS patients and 644 healthy controls with a consistent genetic background for the 57 non-MHC variants reported to be associated with MS by the first large GWAS as well as the HLA DRB1*1501 tagging SNP rs3135388. We robustly replicated three of the 57 non-MHC reported MS-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). In addition, our study revealed several genotype-genotype combinations with an evidently higher degree of disease association than the genotypes of the single SNPs. We further correlated well-defined clinical phenotypes, i.e. ataxia, visual impairment due to optic neuritis and paresis with single SNPs and genotype combinations, and identified several associations. The results may open new avenues for clinical implications of the MS associated genetic variants reported from large GWAS.