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Title: Characterisation of a susceptibility locus for inflammatory arthritis
Author: Steel, Kathryn Jean Audrey
ISNI:       0000 0004 5369 3234
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2014
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Inflammatory arthritis (IA) types such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) and psoriatic arthritis (PsA) have been shown to exhibit common clinical features. As complex diseases they have a known genetic component, some of which is known to be shared. The aim of this study was to assess the genetic overlap between 3 types of IA (RA, JIA and PsA) using genotype data generated on the Immunochip array and to select a biologically promising overlapping region for further genetic and functional investigation. Overlap analysis was performed using association data generated for a large cohort of inflammatory arthritis cases and shared controls (11,475 RA; 2816 JIA; 929 PsA respectively). 50 genetic regions were identified as being associated with more than 1 type of IA (p < 1x10-3), with several interesting similarities and differences observed between the diseases. As several of the overlapping regions detected represented novel disease associations, they required replication in an independent sample cohort. 12 variants were selected for replication in an independent RA cohort of 3879 cases and 2561 controls. Of these, 2 variants in the CTLA4 and MTMR3 regions were successfully replicated in RA at p<0.05. Bioinformatics analysis was performed for the 50 overlapping regions, with one particularly promising region, RUNX1, selected for further investigation. In this region, the same variant (rs9979383) is associated across the 3 diseases, with similar odds ratios (OR 0.8-0.9) observed in each disease. As this region represented both a novel IA association and had not been densely genotyped on the Immunochip array, fine mapping was performed by genotyping 51 SNPS in 3491 cases and 2359 controls. This resulted in replication of the association at rs9979383 (p=0.02) with no additional significant genetic effects detected, therefore this variant was selected for further functional analysis. As rs9979383 lies ~280kb upstream of the RUNX1 gene, a cis-eQTL analysis was performed to identify if the variant acts by regulation of RUNX1 gene expression. This was performed in whole blood, CD4+ and CD8+ lymphocytes from 75 (and a subset of 23) healthy volunteers respectively. No significant eQTLs were detected between rs9979383 and RUNX1 in whole blood (p =0.9) or RUNX1/LOC100506403 CD4+ and CD8+ lymphocytes (p=0.1). This study has provided insight into the genetic similarities and differences between different types of inflammatory arthritis, which can be applied to further investigations into disease susceptibility. Although no significant cis-eQTL was detected in any of these tissues with either RUNX1 or the nearby lnc-RNA LOC100506403, in cells from healthy volunteers under unstimulated conditions, these findings will direct future functional investigations into the role of this overlapping region in the susceptibility of IA.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: rheumatology ; genomics ; rheumatoid arthritis ; juvenile idiopathic arthritis ; psoriatic arthritis