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Eur J Hum Genet. 2011 May;19(5):561-6. doi: 10.1038/ejhg.2010.229. Epub 2011 Jan 19.

HTT haplotypes contribute to differences in Huntington disease prevalence between Europe and East Asia.

Author information

1
Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics, Child and Family Research Institute, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Abstract

Huntington disease (HD) results from CAG expansion in the huntingtin (HTT) gene. Although HD occurs worldwide, there are large geographic differences in its prevalence. The prevalence in populations derived from Europe is 10-100 times greater than in East Asia. The European general population chromosomes can be grouped into three major haplogroups (group of similar haplotypes): A, B and C. The majority of HD chromosomes in Europe are found on haplogroup A. However, in the East-Asian populations of China and Japan, we find the majority of HD chromosomes are associated with haplogroup C. The highest risk HD haplotypes (A1 and A2), are absent from the general and HD populations of China and Japan, and therefore provide an explanation for why HD prevalence is low in East Asia. Interestingly, both East-Asian and European populations share a similar low level of HD on haplogroup C. Our data are consistent with the hypothesis that different HTT haplotypes have different mutation rates, and geographic differences in HTT haplotypes explain the difference in HD prevalence. Further, the bias for expansion on haplogroup C in the East-Asian population cannot be explained by a higher average CAG size, as haplogroup C has a lower average CAG size in the general East-Asian population compared with other haplogroups. This finding suggests that CAG-tract size is not the only factor important for CAG instability. Instead, the expansion bias may be because of genetic cis-elements within the haplotype that influence CAG instability in HTT, possibly through different mutational mechanisms for the different haplogroups.

PMID:
21248742
PMCID:
PMC3083615
DOI:
10.1038/ejhg.2010.229
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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