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A specific genetic region that has been increasingly identified as the strongest genetic link to psoriasis has an even more significant role in the chronic skin disease than has been suspected, University of Utah medical researchers show in a new study.
In the Aug. 13 issue of PLoS Genetics, researchers in the U School of Medicine's Department of Dermatology confirm that the presence of HLA-Cw*0602, a gene variation or allele on chromosome 6 found to be associated with psoriasis by numerous investigators, is the "major genetic determinant" of psoriasis, but that other nearby genetic variations also play an independent role in contributing to the disease
"The HLA-Cw*0602 gene variation stands alone as a high risk for psoriasis," said Gerald G. Krueger, MD, professor of dermatology, Benning Presidential Endowed Chair holder, and a co-author on the study. "A major question has been: Are there other genetic variations in this region that associate with psoriasis?"
The study reported in PLoS Genetics identifies two other genetic variations on chromosome 6 that also have significant association with psoriasis. People who have all three genetic variations are nearly nine times more at risk for psoriasis.
Psoriasis is a chronic disease that causes red scaly patches on the skin and affects up to 7.5 million people in the United States. About 25% of subjects with the disease also develop a painful inflammation of the joints called psoriatic arthritis.