Open Access Open Badges Research article

Identification of novel genetic susceptibility loci for Behçet's disease using a genome-wide association study

Yiping Fei12, Ryan Webb23, Beth L Cobb24, Haner Direskeneli5, Güher Saruhan-Direskeneli6 and Amr H Sawalha127*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medicine, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, 825 NE 13th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73104, USA

2 Arthritis & Immunology Program, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, 825 NE 13th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73104, USA

3 College of Public Health, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, 825 NE 13th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73104, USA

4 JK Autoimmunity Inc., 755 Research Parkway, Oklahoma City, OK 73104, USA

5 Division of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Marmara University Medical School, Tophanelioglu Cad. 13/15, 34662, Uskudar, Istanbul, Turkey

6 Department of Physiology, Istanbul Faculty of Medicine, Istanbul University, Capa 34093, Istanbul, Turkey

7 US Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 921 NE 13th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73104, USA

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2009, 11:R66  doi:10.1186/ar2695

See related editorial by Wallace,

Published: 14 May 2009



Behçet's disease is a chronic systemic inflammatory disease that remains incompletely understood. Herein, we perform the first genome-wide association study in Behçet's disease.


Using DNA pooling technology and the Affymetrix 500K arrays, we identified possible candidate gene associations with Behçet's disease in a cohort of 152 Behçet's disease patients and 172 healthy ethnically matched controls. Genetic loci that were identified in the pooling study were genotyped in patients and controls using TaqMan genotyping technology.


We identified genetic associations between Behçet's disease and single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in KIAA1529, CPVL, LOC100129342, UBASH3B, and UBAC2 (odds ratio = 2.04, 2.26, 1.84, 1.71, and 1.61, respectively; P value = 4.2 × 10-5, 1.0 × 10-4, 3.0 × 10-4, 1.5 × 10-3, and 5.8 × 10-3, respectively). Among the associated SNPs, the Behçet's disease-risk allele in rs2061634 leads to substitution of serine to cysteine at amino acid position 995 (S995C) in the KIAA1529 protein.


Using an unbiased whole-genome genetic association approach, we identified novel candidate genetic loci that are associated with increased susceptibility for Behçet's disease. These findings will help to better understand the pathogenesis of Behçet's disease and identify novel targets for therapeutic intervention.