International study finds genetic risk for chronic inflammation

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Genes contributing to immune and metabolic processes may be linked to chronic inflammation, suggests a new study of genomic data from more than 200,000 individuals. Findings were published online Nov. 1 in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

An international team of researchers – including Bruce Psaty from the University of Washington School of Public Health – performed a meta-analysis of two genome-wide association studies and searched for genetic sites associated with circulating C-reactive protein, a marker for chronic inflammation.

They identified 58 new and known genetic locations linked to C-reactive protein levels circulating in the blood, leading to genes that clustered in immune and liver-metabolic pathways.

The genetics of chronic inflammation remain largely unknown and the causal role of C-reactive protein in several clinical outcomes is debated, according to the paper. The new study was led by researchers from the University of Groningen and Imperial College London. Psaty is professor of epidemiology and adjunct professor of health services at the University of Washington School of Public Health. He is also professor of general internal medicine.