Genome-Wide Association Study Identifies Risk Variants for Lichen Planus in Patients With Hepatitis C Virus Infection

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Abstract

Background & Aims

There is a close relationship between hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and lichen planus, a chronic inflammatory mucocutaneous disease. We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) to identify genetic variants associated with HCV-related lichen planus.

Methods

We conducted a GWAS of 261 patients with HCV infection treated at a tertiary medical center in Japan from October 2007 through January 2013; a total of 71 had lichen planus and 190 had normal oral mucosa. We validated our findings in a GWAS of 38 patients with HCV-associated lichen planus and 7 HCV-infected patients with normal oral mucosa treated at a medical center in Italy.

Results

Single-nucleotide polymorphisms in NRP2 (rs884000) and IGFBP4 (rs538399) were associated with risk of HCV-associated lichen planus (P < 1 × 10−4). We also found an association between a single-nucleotide polymorphism in the HLA-DR/DQ genes (rs9461799) and susceptibility to HCV-associated lichen planus. The odds ratios for the minor alleles of rs884000, rs538399, and rs9461799 were 3.25 (95% confidence interval, 1.95–5.41), 0.40 (95% confidence interval, 0.25–0.63), and 2.15 (95% confidence interval, 1.41–3.28), respectively.

Conclusions

In a GWAS of Japanese patients with HCV infection, we replicated associations between previously reported polymorphisms in HLA class II genes and risk for lichen planus. We also identified single-nucleotide polymorphisms in NRP2 and IGFBP4 loci that increase and reduce risk of lichen planus, respectively. These genetic variants might be used to identify patients with HCV infection who are at risk for lichen planus.

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