Genome-wide association study identifies two new loci associated with anti-NMDAR encephalitis
Anja K Tietz,
Kristin S Golombeck,
German Network for Research on Autoimmune Encephalitis (GENERATE)
Posted 12 Mar 2021
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.03.11.21253347
Posted 12 Mar 2021
Objective: To investigate the genetic determinants of the most common type of antibody-mediated autoimmune encephalitis, anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (anti-NMDAR) encephalitis. Methods: We performed a genome-wide association study in 178 patients with anti-NMDAR encephalitis and 590 healthy controls followed by a colocalization analysis to identify putatively causal genes. Results: We identified two independent risk loci harboring genome-wide significant variants (P < 5 x 10-8, OR [≥] 2.2), one on chromosome 15, comprising only the LRRK1 gene, and one on chromosome 11 centered on the ACP2 and NR1H3 genes in a larger region of high linkage-disequilibrium. Colocalization signals with expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) for different brain regions and immune cell types suggested ACP2, NR1H3, MADD, DDB2, and C11orf49 as putatively causal genes. The best candidate genes in each region are LRRK1, encoding Leucine-Rich Repeat Kinase 1, a protein involved in B-cell development, and NR1H3 liver x receptor alpha, a transcription factor whose activation inhibits inflammatory processes. Conclusion: This study provides evidence for relevant genetic determinants of antibody-mediated autoimmune encephalitides outside the HLA-region. The results suggest that future studies with larger sample sizes will successfully identify additional genetic determinants and contribute to the elucidation of the pathomechanism.
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