The danger of "Danger"

Kenneth Frauwirth kfrauwir at midway.uchicago.edu
Mon Jun 14 19:56:18 EST 1999

In article <37657605.484D at nds.ox.ac.uk>,
Derek Gray  <derek.gray at nds.ox.ac.uk> wrote:
>Mike Clark wrote:
>> It is quite clear that most autoimmune conditions are under polygenic
>> control. 
>Hey, I go away for 3 weeks and all the interesting discussion on Danger
>has been and gone. Just to try and rekindle interest from the dying
>embers, Are you sure about the polygenic argument for autoimmune
>diseases Mike?  I went to a recent talk on cytokine polymorphisms in
>malaria, and was struck by how these various cytokine polymorphisms
>change the phenotype of malaria dramatically (eg from blackwater fever
>to cerebral malaria, to chronic relapsing forms). It struck me that if
>you looked at malaria without knowing the underlying cause it would look
>for all the world like a polygenic disease, yet we know that there is
>only one underlying cause: the malaria parasite.

But clearly the *disease* (and probably susceptibility to it) is under
polygenic control, even if there is a single proximate cause for all the
forms.  You may also be interested to note that a number of the genes
linked to autoimmunity are cytokine genes.  However, even by a more
stringent definition, most autoimmune disorders are polygenic in nature,
since both MHC and autoantigen gene polymorphisms appear to be involved
(IDDM, for example, is linked to both the MHC and insulin loci).

Ken Frauwirth

Ken Frauwirth (MiSTie #33025)  kfrauwir at midway.uchicago.edu
Gwen Knapp Center for Lupus and Immunology Research
University of Chicago

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