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PLA2R-associated membranous glomerulopathy is modulated by common variants in PLA2R1 and HLA-DQA1 genes


Membranous glomerulopathy (MG) is most commonly caused by autoantibodies directed against the podocyte phospholipase A2 receptor (PLA2R1) and common variants in this gene are associated with MG. Here for the first time, we carried out a large case–control association study (n=1512) of PLA2R-positive and -negative MG to determine the extent of association in these pathologic subtypes. We performed four separate sets of analyses to determine significance of the single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and their haplotypes followed by joint analysis and trans-ethnic mapping to increase power. The PLA2R1 SNP rs35771982 was most strongly associated with PLA2R-positive MG (P=1.4 × 10−14, odds ratio (ORGG)=1.98). The associations of other SNPs in PLA2R1 could be explained because of linkage disequilibrium with the G-allele. Haplotypes in PLA2R1 did not exceed the significance of rs35771982 even after 10 000 permutations. PLA2R1 variants were only associated with PLA2R-positive MG and predominantly in Caucasians. PLA2R1 variants did not associate with MG in African Americans (AA). There was strong epistasis between HLA-DQA1 SNP rs2187668 and the PLA2R1 variant rs35771982. Thus, common variants in the PLA2R1, particularly rs35771982, modulate PLA2R-positive MG with HLA-DQA1 in Caucasians. PLA2R-negative MG especially in AA, may provide a novel opportunity to discover new genes underlying MG.

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Correspondence to C P Larsen.

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Saeed, M., Beggs, M., Walker, P. et al. PLA2R-associated membranous glomerulopathy is modulated by common variants in PLA2R1 and HLA-DQA1 genes. Genes Immun 15, 556–561 (2014).

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