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UT rheumatologists discover 2 genes related to disabling form of arthritis
Date:10/21/2007

HOUSTON (Oct. 22, 2007)Work done in part by researchers at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston has led to the discovery of two genes that cause ankylosing spondylitis, an inflammatory and potentially disabling disease. The findings are published in the Oct. 21 online edition of Nature Genetics, a journal that emphasizes research on the genetic basis for common and complex diseases.

John D. Reveille, M.D., professor and director of the Division of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunogenetics, in conjunction with Matthew A. Brown, M.D., professor of immunogenetics at Australias University of Queensland, led research done by the Triple A Spondylitis Consortium Genetic Study (i.e. the TASC or Australo-Anglo-American Spondylitis Consortium).

The international team of researchers worked with investigators from the British Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium, and together they made the genetic discovery.

Reveille, chief of rheumatology at Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center, said the discovery of genes ARTS1 and IL23R brings the scientific community two steps closer to fully understanding ankylosing spondylitis or AS, a chronic form of arthritis that attacks the spine and also can target other joints and organs in the body.

Weve long known that the HLA-B27 gene accounts for 40 percent of the overall cause of AS, said Reveille, the principal investigator of TASC. Now we have found two new genes. Together with HLA-B27, these genes account for roughly 70 percent of the overall cause. That means weve almost nailed this disease. Within the next year, I predict we will have identified all the genes that play a role in this insidious disease. There is more exciting news to come.

The recent discovery is based on work from the largest and most comprehensive genome-wide association scan conducted to date. In this part of the research project, investigators were searching for genetic information related to AS, as w
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Contact: Meredith Raine
Meredith.Raine@uth.tmc.edu
713-500-3030
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Source:Eurekalert

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