Caucasians are more prone to psoriasis than Chinese – Genetic makeup to blame

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A*STAR’s Genome Institute of Singapore led the world’s first large-scale, trans-ethnic Genome Wide Meta Analysis (GWMA) in psoriasis along with researchers from China, USA and Europe.

Psoriasis is an immune-mediated inflammatory disease that results in chronic skin conditions. The study identified 7 novel associations with four novel susceptibiliy loci that have implications in the immune and keratinocyte development. They also carried out trans-ethnic GWMA for 45 susceptibility loci between Caucasians and Chinese cases and controls wherein many loci showed consistent common associations between the two groups.

Interestingly, the study showed that 10 of the probed loci that were strongly correlated to psoriasis were found only in Caucasians and not in Chinese. There are multiple risk factors for psoriasis such as smoking, stress, obesity and genetic susceptibility of the individual. This study furthers our understanding of the influence of genetic components on the increased susceptibility in certain ethnicities compared to others.

“There are different types of treatments for psoriasis, with each addressing a different root cause of the disease. The only way for a patient to know which treatment best works for his or her condition is to try each over time – this will lead to added costs and time. The benefit of such genetic studies in psoriasis for example, allows the development of future genetic tests that will go a long way to help doctors take the guesswork out of figuring the root cause of disease and shortlist treatments that are known to be the most effective for that patient’s condition,” said Prof Huck-Hui Ng, Executive Director, GIS.

Source: A*STAR news release