Researchers have identified two genes linked to both ankylosing spondylitis, a painful and progressive form of arthritis in which some or all of the spine’s vertebrae fuse together, and Graves’ disease, an autoimmune condition that causes overactivity of the thyroid gland.
The study revealed two genes linked to ankylosing spondylitis: ARTS1 and IL23R, both of which influence immune function. Together with the previously known gene HLA-B27, the new findings increase to three the number of genes known to be involved in the disease.
A person who carries all three genetic variants would be expected to have a one-in-four chance of developing the disease.
The study has been published online in the Oct. 21 issue of Nature Genetics. The researchers will next study the genes in model organisms to work out the pathways by which they cause disease, to help identify potential drugs against the said conditions.