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Clin Dev Immunol. 2012;2012:484919. doi: 10.1155/2012/484919. Epub 2012 Sep 25.

Genetics of myasthenia gravis: a case-control association study in the Hellenic population.

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  • 1Laboratory of Molecular Biology and Immunology, Department of Pharmacy, School of Health Sciences, University of Patras, Rion, 26504 Patras, Greece.


Myasthenia gravis (MG) is an heterogeneous autoimmune disease characterized by the production of autoantibodies against proteins of the postsynaptic membrane, in the neuromuscular junction. The contribution of genetic factors to MG susceptibility has been evaluated through family and twin studies however, the precise genetic background of the disease remains elusive. We conducted a case-control association study in 101 unrelated MG patients of Hellenic origin and 101 healthy volunteers in order to assess the involvement of common genetic variants in susceptibility to MG. We focused on three candidate genes which have been clearly associated with several autoimmune diseases, aiming to investigate their potential implication in MG pathogenesis. These are interferon regulatory factor 5 (IRF-5), TNF╬▒-induced protein 3 (TNFAIP3), also known as A20, and interleukin-10 (IL-10), key molecules in the regulation of immune function. A statistical trend of association (P = 0.068) between IL-10 promoter single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and the subgroups of early and late-onset MG patients was revealed. No statistically significant differences were observed in the rest of the variants examined. As far as we are aware, this is the first worldwide attempt to address the possible association between IRF-5 and TNFAIP3 common genetic variants and the genetic basis of MG.

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