Consortium finds chronic liver cirrhosis clues
Cambridge (UK) – British researchers have discovered 12 new genetic markers involved in the development the chronic autoimmune liver disease biliary cirrhosis, which leads to irritation and swelling of the bile ducts and often ends up in transplant surgery for patients (Nature Genetics). The team from the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium systematically compared genetic data from 2500 patients and 7500 healthy volunteers and found 22 regions of the genome that differed significantly, 12 or them previously not known. Five of these are involved in the NF-кB pathway, according to study author George Mells. "For clinicians involved in the management of primary biliary cirrhosis, this study is exciting because it provides new and meaningful insight into the biological origins of this condition," said Mells. The results underpin a growing body of evidence that suggests there are many genetic risk factors that are shared between autoimmune diseases. Of the 22 regions identified in this study of primary biliary cirrhosis, 12 have previously been associated with other autoimmune disorders such as type-1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and psoriasis. Determining how these shared pathways interact with those that, at this moment in time, appear to be unique to primary biliary cirrhosis is likely to lead to therapeutic progress.