Amino acid substitutions in the thyroglobulin gene are associated with susceptibility to human and murine autoimmune thyroid disease
The 8q24 locus, which contains the thyroglobulin (Tg) gene, was previously shown to be strongly linked with autoimmune thyroid disease (AITD). We sequenced all 48 exons of the Tg gene and identified 14 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Case control association studies demonstrated that an exon 10-12 SNP cluster and an exon 33 SNP were significantly associated with AITD (P < 0.01). Haplotype analysis demonstrated that the combination of these two SNP groups was more significantly associated with AITD (P < 0.001). Gene-gene interaction studies provided evidence for an interaction between HLA-DR3 and the exon 33 SNP, giving an odds ratio of 6.1 for Graves' disease. We then sequenced exons 10,12, and 33 of the mouse Tg gene in 19 strains of mice. Fifty percent of the strains susceptible to thyroiditis had a unique SNP haplotype at exons 10 and 12, whereas none of the mouse strains that were resistant to thyroiditis had this SNP haplotype (P = 0.01). We concluded that Tg is a susceptibility gene for AITD, both in humans in and in mice. A combination of at least two Tg SNPs conferred susceptibility to human AITD. Moreover, the exon 33 SNP showed evidence for interaction with HLA-DR3 in conferring susceptibility to Graves' disease.