The development of Graves' disease and the CTLA-4 gene on chromosome 2q33.
Heward JM., Allahabadia A., Armitage M., Hattersley A., Dodson PM., Macleod K., Carr-Smith J., Daykin J., Daly A., Sheppard MC., Holder RL., Barnett AH., Franklyn JA., Gough SC.
Case-control studies suggest that the CTLA-4 gene may be a susceptibility locus for Graves' disease. The previously reported A/G polymorphism at position 49 in exon 1 of the CTLA-4 gene was, therefore, investigated in a case-control (n = 743) and family-based (n = 179) dataset of white Caucasian subjects with Graves' disease. The relationship between CTLA-4 genotype and severity of thyroid dysfunction at diagnosis was also investigated. An increase in frequency of the G (alanine) allele was seen in Graves' patients compared with control subjects (42% vs. 31.5%, respectively; corrected P<0.0002; odds ratio = 1.58), and a significant difference in the distribution of GG, GA, and AA genotypes was observed between the groups (chi2 = 21.7; corrected P<0.00003). Increased transmission of the G allele was seen from heterozygous parents to affected offspring compared to unaffected offspring (chi2 = 5.7; P = 0.025). Circulating free T4 concentrations at diagnosis were significantly associated with CTLA-4 genotype (F = 3.26; P = 0.04). These results support the hypothesis that CTLA-4 may play a role in regulating self-tolerance by the immune system and in the pathogenesis of autoimmune disorders such as Graves' disease.