Mucous membrane pemphigoid (MMP) is a rare, chronic and often aggressive subepidermal autoimmune blistering disease potentially affecting several mucous membranes with blisters and secondary erosions and scars. The pathogenesis of MMP is poorly understood, and the contribution of genetic predispositions, other than HLA class II allele variants to MMP, is unknown. The objective of this study is to identify susceptibility genes for MMP in a British cohort of MMP patients. A GWAS was conducted in a British cohort of 106 MMP patients. Publicly available genotypes of 2900 blood donors of the UK Blood Service and of 6740 individuals of the 1958 British Birth Cohort served as control. Subsequently, putative susceptibility genes were independently replicated in a German cohort of 42 MMP patients. The GWAS found 38 SNPs in 28 haploblocks with an odds ratio >2 reaching genomewide significance (P < 5.7 × 10−7). Replication confirmed an association of MMP with SNPs in rs17203398 (OR: 3.9), located intronically in the β-galactocerebrosidase gene (GALC) on chromosome 14 and with recessive polymorphisms in rs9936045 (OR: 3.1) in the intergenic region between CASC16 and CHD9 on chromosome 16. The risk of developing MMP is partially genetically determined. SNPs in GALC enhance the risk for MMP, indicating that β-galactocerebrosidase may be involved in the pathogenesis of MMP. Likewise, impacts of polymorphisms in the intergenic region between CASC16 and CHD9 on the activity of neighbouring genes may facilitate the emergence of MMP. The putative role of both polymorphisms requires functional studies in the future.

Original languageEnglish
JournalExperimental Dermatology
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)1214-1220
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 01.12.2017


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