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Psoriasis: 7 New Genetic Clues

Newly Discovered Genetic Variations May Make Psoriasis More Likely, Study Shows
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

April 3, 2008 -- Scientists have discovered seven genetic variations linked to psoriasis.

If confirmed in other studies, those gene variants may make good targets for new psoriasis drugs, note the researchers, who included Anne Bowcock, PhD, genetics professor at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

"Common diseases like psoriasis are incredibly complex at the genetic level," Bowcock says in a news release. "Our research shows that small but common DNA differences are important in the development of psoriasis. Although each variation makes only a small contribution to the disease, patients usually have a number of different genetic variations that increases their risk of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis."

Bowcock's team compared DNA from 223 psoriasis patients (including 91 with psoriatic arthritis) and 519 people without psoriasis, and also from two other large groups of people with and without psoriasis.

Through those comparisons, the researchers identified seven genetic variations linked to psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis and confirmed other variations already linked to psoriasis.

One of the newly discovered variants is in a genetic region tied to four other autoimmune diseases: celiac disease, type 1 diabetes, Grave's disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Further studies are needed to confirm the findings, Bowcock and colleagues note in the April 4 online edition of Public Library of Science Genetics.

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