Background and aims Autoimmune pancreatitis (AIP) represents a rare but clinically relevant cause of pancreatic inflammation. Using MRL/Mp mice as a model of spontaneous AIP, the genetic basis of the disease was studied.
Methods To identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) of AIP, an advanced intercross line was studied, originating from MRL/MpJ parental mice and the following three mouse strains: Cast (healthy controls), BXD2 (susceptible to collagen induced arthritis), and NZM (a model of lupus erythematosus). This concept was chosen to identify both general autoimmune disease associated loci and AIP specific QTL. Therefore, generation G4 of outbred intercross mice was characterised phenotypically by scoring histopathological changes of the pancreas and genotyped with single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) arrays. Data were analysed with the R implementation of HAPPY.
Results Five QTLs, correlating with the severity of AIP, were identified. Two of them mapped to chromosome 4 and one to chromosomes 2, 5, and 6, respectively. The QTL on chromosome 6 displays the highest LOD score (5.4) and contains the C-type lectin domain family 4 member a2 in its peak region, which encodes a receptor protein of dendritic cells that has previously been implicated in autoimmune diseases such as Sjogren's syndrome. AIP candidate genes of other QTL's include heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A3; nuclear factor, erythroid derived 2, like 2; Sjogren syndrome antigen B; and ubiquitin protein ligase E3 component n-recognin 3.
Conclusions This study has identified QTLs and putative candidate genes of murine AIP. Their functional role and relevance to human AIP will be studied further.
- Autoimmune disease
- chronic pancreatitis
- molecular genetics
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Funding Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), 53170 Bonn, Germany; grant DFG EXC306/1 to Saleh Ibrahim.
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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