Background: Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) polymorphism is a possible factor contributing to the maternal parent-of-origin effect in multiple sclerosis (MS) susceptibility. Methods and Findings: In order to investigate the role of mtDNA variations in MS, we investigated six European MS case control cohorts comprising >5,000 individuals. Three well matched cohorts were genotyped with seven common, potentially functional mtDNA single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). A SNP, nt13708 G/A, was significantly associated with MS susceptibility in all three cohorts. The nt13708A allele was associated with an increased risk of MS (OR = 1.71, 95% CI 1.28-2.26, P = 0.0002). Subsequent sequencing of the mtDNA of 50 individuals revealed that the nt13708 itself, rather than SNPs linked to it, was responsible for the association. However, the association of nt13708 G/A with MS was not significant in MS cohorts which were not well case-control matched, indicating that the significance of association was affected by the population structure of controls. Conclusions: Taken together, our finding identified the nt13708A variant as a susceptibility allele to MS, which could contribute to defining the role of the mitochondrial genome in MS pathogenesis.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)