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Mapping QTL affecting a systemic sclerosis-like disorder in a cross between UCD-200 and red jungle fowl chickens.

Journal article
Authors Weronica Ek
Anna-Stina Sahlqvist
Lucy Crooks
Roswitha Sgonc
Hermann Dietrich
Georg Wick
Olov Ekwall
Leif Andersson
Örjan Carlborg
Olle Kämpe
Susanne Kerje
Published in Developmental and comparative immunology
Volume 38
Issue 2
Pages 352-9
ISSN 1879-0089
Publication year 2012
Published at Institute of Medicine, Department of Rheumatology and Inflammation Research
Institute of Clinical Sciences
Pages 352-9
Language en
Keywords Animals, Bird Diseases, genetics, Chickens, Disease Models, Animal, Epistasis, Genetic, Female, Humans, Male, Quantitative Trait Loci, Scleroderma, Systemic, genetics
Subject categories Basic Medicine


Systemic sclerosis (SSc) or scleroderma is a rare, autoimmune, multi-factorial disease characterized by early microvascular alterations, inflammation, and fibrosis. Chickens from the UCD-200 line develop a hereditary SSc-like disease, showing all the hallmarks of the human disorder, which makes this line a promising model to study genetic factors underlying the disease. A backcross was generated between UCD-200 chickens and its wild ancestor - the red jungle fowl and a genome-scan was performed to identify loci affecting early (21 days of age) and late (175 days of age) ischemic lesions of the comb. A significant difference in frequency of disease was observed between sexes in the BC population, where the homogametic males were more affected than females, and there was evidence for a protective W chromosome effect. Three suggestive disease predisposing loci were mapped to chromosomes 2, 12 and 14. Three orthologues of genes implicated in human SSc are located in the QTL region on chromosome 2, TGFRB1, EXOC2-IRF4 and COL1A2, as well as CCR8, which is more generally related to immune function. IGFBP3 is also located within the QTL on chromosome 2 and earlier studies have showed increased IGFBP3 serum levels in SSc patients. To our knowledge, this study is the first to reveal a potential genetic association between IGFBP3 and SSc. Another gene with an immunological function, SOCS1, is located in the QTL region on chromosome 14. These results illustrate the usefulness of the UCD-200 chicken as a model of human SSc and motivate further in-depth functional studies of the implicated candidate genes.

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