The autoimmune thyroid diseases (AITDs), comprising Graves disease (GD) and Hashimoto thyroiditis (HT), develop as a result of a complex interaction between predisposing genes and environmental triggers. Previously, we identified six loci that showed evidence for linkage with AITD in a data set of 56 multiplex families. The goals of the present study were to replicate/reject the previously identified loci before fine mapping and sequencing the candidate genes in these regions. We performed a whole-genome linkage study in an expanded data set of 102 multiplex families with AITD (540 individuals), through use of 400 microsatellite markers. Seven loci showed evidence for linkage to AITD. Three loci, on chromosomes 6p, 8q, and 10q, showed evidence for linkage with both GD and HT (maximum multipoint heterogeneity LOD scores [HLOD] 2.0, 3.5, and 4.1, respectively). Three loci showed evidence for linkage with GD: on 7q (HLOD 2.3), 14q (HLOD 2.1), and 20q (LOD 3.3, in a subset of the families). One locus on 12q showed evidence of linkage with HT, giving an HLOD of 3.4. Comparison with the results obtained in the original data set showed that the 20q (GD-2) and 12q (HT-2) loci continued to show evidence for linkage in the expanded data set; the 6p and 14q loci were located within the same region as the previously identified 6p and 14q loci (AITD-1 and GD-1, respectively), but the Xq (GD-3) and 13q (HT-1) loci were not replicated in the expanded data set. These results demonstrated that multiple genes may predispose to GD and HT and that some may be common to both diseases and some are unique. The loci that continue to show evidence for linkage in the expanded data set represent serious candidate regions for gene identification.
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