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Association study between keratinocyte-derived growth factor gene polymorphisms and susceptibility to vitiligo vulgaris in a Taiwanese population: potential involvement of stem cell factor

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Summary Background 

Vitiligo vulgaris is a depigmentary disorder resulting from the disappearance of functional melanocytes. Currently, the pathogenesis of this disorder remains obscure. Objectives 

Genetic analysis of patients with vitilgo may provide important clues for elucidating the complex pathomechanisms involved in the disease process. Because dysfunctional keratinocytes have recently been implicated in the pathogenesis of vitiligo vulgaris, we conducted a case–control association study to investigate this phenomenon. Patients and methods 

Fifty-one patients with vitiligo vulgaris and 118 healthy controls from Taiwan were recruited to investigate the association between relevant keratinocyte-related genes and the occurrence of vitiligo vulgaris. This study genotyped 11 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in five genes including stem cell factor (SCF, also known as KITLG), basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF, also known as NuDT6), endothelin-1 (EDN1), hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and stem cell growth factor (SCGF, also known as CLEC11A). Results 

Our results revealed that the A allele for SNP rs11104947 in the SCF gene and the T allele for SNP rs13866 in the SCGF gene were, respectively, associated with a 1·95- and a 2·14-fold risk of developing vitiligo vulgaris. A higher risk was also detected among subjects who carried the SCF rs995029/rs11104947 C/A haplotype (odds ratio = 2·45). Furthermore, the at-risk alleles for SCF rs11104947 (A allele) and for SCGF SNP rs13866 (T allele) were found to display a 7·92-fold increased gene–gene combined risk. No significant relationship between polymorphic frequency for genes bFGF, EDN1 as well as HGF and occurrence of vitiligo vulgaris was observed. Conclusions 

These novel genetic findings provide new insights in relation to the mechanisms that might be involved in the development of vitiligo vulgaris.
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Keywords: stem cell factor; stem cell growth factor; vitiligo vulgaris

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, College of Medicine 2: Faculty of Biomedical Laboratory Science 3: Faculty of Public Health, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan 4: Department of Dermatology, Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Publication date: 2009-06-01

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