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PLoS One. 2012;7(6):e38322. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0038322. Epub 2012 Jun 14.

Genetic polymorphisms of the human PNPLA3 gene are strongly associated with severity of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in Japanese.

Author information

1
Center for Genomic Medicine, Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto, Japan.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) includes a broad range of liver pathologies from simple steatosis to cirrhosis and fibrosis, in which a subtype accompanying hepatocyte degeneration and fibrosis is classified as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). NASH accounts for approximately 10-30% of NAFLD and causes a higher frequency of liver-related death, and its progression of NASH has been considered to be complex involving multiple genetic factors interacting with the environment and lifestyle.

PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

To identify genetic factors related to NAFLD in the Japanese, we performed a genome-wide association study recruiting 529 histologically diagnosed NAFLD patients and 932 population controls. A significant association was observed for a cluster of SNPs in PNPLA3 on chromosome 22q13 with the strongest p-value of 1.4 × 10(-10) (OR = 1.66, 95%CI: 1.43-1.94) for rs738409. Rs738409 also showed the strongest association (p = 3.6 × 10(-6)) with the histological classifications proposed by Matteoni and colleagues based on the degree of inflammation, ballooning degeneration, fibrosis and Mallory-Denk body. In addition, there were marked differences in rs738409 genotype distributions between type4 subgroup corresponding to NASH and the other three subgroups (p = 4.8 × 10(-6), OR = 1.96, 95%CI: 1.47-2.62). Moreover, a subgroup analysis of NAFLD patients against controls showed a significant association of rs738409 with type4 (p = 1.7 × 10(-16), OR = 2.18, 95%CI: 1.81-2.63) whereas no association was obtained for type1 to type3 (p = 0.41). Rs738409 also showed strong associations with three clinical traits related to the prognosis of NAFLD, namely, levels of hyaluronic acid (p = 4.6 × 10(-4)), HbA1c (p = 0.0011) and iron deposition in the liver (p = 5.6 × 10(-4)).

CONCLUSIONS:

With these results we clearly demonstrated that Matteoni type4 NAFLD is both a genetically and clinically different subset from the other spectrums of the disease and that the PNPLA3 gene is strongly associated with the progression of NASH in Japanese population.

PMID:
22719876
PMCID:
PMC3375283
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0038322
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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