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Immunogenetics. 2007 May;59(5):349-57. Epub 2007 Feb 27.

The SPINK gene family and celiac disease susceptibility.

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  • 1Complex Genetics Section, DBG-Department of Medical Genetics, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


The gene family of serine protease inhibitors of the Kazal type (SPINK) are functional and positional candidate genes for celiac disease (CD). Our aim was to assess the gut mucosal gene expression and genetic association of SPINK1, -2, -4, and -5 in the Dutch CD population. Gene expression was determined for all four SPINK genes by quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction in duodenal biopsy samples from untreated (n=15) and diet-treated patients (n=31) and controls (n=16). Genetic association of the four SPINK genes was tested within a total of 18 haplotype tagging SNPs, one coding SNP, 310 patients, and 180 controls. The SPINK4 study cohort was further expanded to include 479 CD cases and 540 controls. SPINK4 DNA sequence analysis was performed on six members of a multigeneration CD family to detect possible point mutations or deletions. SPINK4 showed differential gene expression, which was at its highest in untreated patients and dropped sharply upon commencement of a gluten-free diet. Genetic association tests for all four SPINK genes were negative, including SPINK4 in the extended case/control cohort. No SPINK4 mutations or deletions were observed in the multigeneration CD family with linkage to chromosome 9p21-13 nor was the coding SNP disease-specific. SPINK4 exhibits CD pathology-related differential gene expression, likely derived from altered goblet cell activity. All of the four SPINK genes tested do not contribute to the genetic risk for CD in the Dutch population.

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