Molecular Medicine Israel

Genetics of pancreatitis

Nature Genetics 44, 1349–1354 (2012)

David Whitcomb et al.

“Common genetic variants in the CLDN2 and PRSS1-PRSS2 loci alter risk for alcohol-related and sporadic pancreatitis”

David Whitcomb, Bernie Devlin and colleagues report the results of a genome-wide association study of pancreatitis. They identify common variants at two loci associated with risk of this disease, including one on the X chromosome that shows evidence of interaction with alcohol consumption.

Abstract– Pancreatitis is a complex, progressively destructive inflammatory disorder. Alcohol was long thought to be the primary causative agent, but genetic contributions have been of interest since the discovery that rare PRSS1CFTR and SPINK1 variants were associated with pancreatitis risk. We now report two associations at genome-wide significance identified and replicated at PRSS1PRSS2 and X-linked CLDN2  through a two-stage genome-wide study. The PRSS1 variant likely affects disease susceptibility by altering expression of the primary trypsinogen gene. The CLDN2 risk allele is associated with atypical localization of claudin-2 in pancreatic acinar cells. The homozygous (or hemizygous in males) CLDN2 genotype confers the greatest risk, and its alleles interact with alcohol consumption to amplify risk. These results could partially explain the high frequency of alcohol-related pancreatitis in men.

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