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International research collaboration narrows focus on genetic cause of Kawasaki disease
Date:12/17/2007

Researchers from Japans RIKEN SNP Research Center, collaborating with a team at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), have discovered a new genetic variation that affects a childs risk of getting Kawasaki disease (KD), an illness characterized by acute inflammation of the arteries throughout the body. The genetic variation influences immune activation and the response to standard treatment, as well as the risk of developing coronary artery aneurysms a swelling of the artery that can result in blood clots and heart attack as a complication of KD.

Lead author, Yoshi Onouchi, M.D., Ph.D., SNP Research Center, RIKEN, Yokohama, Japan, used DNA from hundreds of U.S. children and their parents, collected through the Kawasaki Disease Research Center at Rady Childrens Hospital San Diego (RCHSD), Department of Pediatrics, UCSD School of Medicine.

This was a wonderful collaboration, said co-author, Jane Burns, M.D., professor and chief, Division of Allergy, Immunology, and Rheumatology, UCSD Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Onouchi used our DNA to make this observation. Now we are building on that observation.

Kawasaki Disease, a pediatric illness characterized by fever and rash, is not a rare illness but it is most prevalent in Japan. In San Diego County, 20 to 30 children per 100,000 children less than five years of age are affected each year. More than 50 new patients are treated annually at RCHSD. The illness is four to five times more common than some more publicly recognized diseases of children such as tuberculosis or bacterial meningitis.

If untreated, KD can lead to lethal coronary artery aneurysms. KD tends to run in families, suggesting that there are genetic components to disease risk. It is also 10 to 20 times more common in Japanese and Japanese American children than in children of European descent.

Researchers identified a region on chromosome 19 linked with the disease. In particular, a ser
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Contact: Kimberly Edwards
kedwards@ucsd.edu
619-543-6163
University of California - San Diego
Source:Eurekalert

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