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Z Gombos, R Hermann, R Veijola, M Knip, O Simell, P Pollanen and J Ilonen

OBJECTIVE: Animal models suggest that androgen receptor gene polymorphisms might affect disease predisposition in human immune-mediated diabetes. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of the human androgen receptor gene exon 1 CAG repeat polymorphisms on type 1 diabetes (T1D) susceptibility. DESIGN AND METHODS: A combined strategy of case-control and family-based approaches was used. Affected sibling pair families (n=120), nuclear families (n=645) and cohorts of sporadic cases (n=208) and controls (n=1381) were genotyped for androgen receptor gene exon 1 CAG repeat polymorphism. An automated fluorescence-based DNA fragment-sizing method was used. RESULTS: The distribution of CAG repeat alleles did not differ significantly between patients and controls. However, short repeat alleles (7-14) were more prevalent among cases in girls compared with controls (8.77% vs 5.91%; P=0.03). Long repeat alleles (19-28) were less frequent among HLA DR3-positive diseased boys than in DR3-positive control boys (32.6% vs 40.6%; P=0.011). The differences were not significant after adjustment for multiple comparisons. Transmission of CAG repeat alleles was not different from expected in the total material. However, transmissions to girls deviated from the expected value significantly (extended transmission disequilibrium test (ETDT) 37.82; P=0.0016). A decreased transmission of the alleles with 13, 20 and 26 repeats to girls was observed (T%0, P=0.046; T%25.5, P=0.0003, T%0, P=0.025). CONCLUSION: The results do not support a common role for the androgen receptor gene exon 1 CAG repeat in T1D susceptibility; however, an effect of a disease variant in linkage disequilibrium could be detected.

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Z Gombos, R Hermann, M Kiviniemi, S Nejentsev, K Reimand, V Fadeyev, P Peterson, R Uibo and J Ilonen

Objective

Addison's disease is an organ-specific autoimmune disorder with a polygenic background. The aim of the study was to identify non-class II human leukocyte antigen (HLA) susceptibility genes for Addison's disease.

Design and methods

Addison's disease patients from three European populations were analysed for selected HLA–DR–DQ alleles and for 11 microsatellite markers covering ∼4 Mb over the HLA region. Subjects were 69 patients with Addison's disease from Estonia (24), Finland (14) and Russia (31). Consecutively recruited healthy newborns from the same geographical regions were used as controls (269 Estonian, 1000 Finnish and 413 Russian). Association measures for HLA–DRB1, DQB1, DQA1 and 11 microsatellites between D6S273 and D6S2223 were taken. A low-resolution full-house typing was used for HLA class II genes, while microsatellite markers were studied using fluorescence-based DNA fragment sizing technology.

Results

We confirmed that the HLA–DR3–DQ2 and the DQB1*0302–DRB1*0404 haplotypes confer disease susceptibility. In Russian patients, we also found an increase of DRB1*0403 allele, combined with DQB1*0305 allele in three out of six cases (P<0.0001). Analysis of 11 microsatellite markers including STR MICA confirmed the strong linkage in DR3–DQ2 haplotypes but DRB1*0404–DQB1*0302 haplotypes were diverse. MICA5.1 allele was found in 22 out of 24 Estonian patients, but results from Finnish and Russian patients did not support its independent role in disease susceptibility.

Conclusion

HLA–DRB1*0403 was identified as a novel susceptibility allele for Addison's disease. Additionally, we found no evidence of a non-class II HLA disease susceptibility locus; however, the HLA–DR3–DQ2 haplotype appeared more conserved in patient groups with high DR–DQ2 frequencies.