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Genetics: New genetic risk variants for severe acne

Nature Communications

January 8, 2014

Two newly identified genetic variants associated with severe acne in a Chinese Han population are reported this week in Nature Communications. As well as providing insight into the genetic basis of severe acne, this study highlights biological pathways that may be involved in the disease and could potentially be targeted for future treatments.

Severe acne is a common skin disorder, characterised by widespread inflammatory lesions that can lead to permanent scarring. Studies have shown that genetic factors play an important role in the development of acne, but these factors remain poorly understood. Ya-Ping Zhang and colleagues carried out a genome-wide association study and replication analysis in two independent Han Chinese populations in order to pinpoint genes that may have an effect on the occurrence of acne.

The team identify two genetic variants, which they map to nearby genes DDB2 and SELL, that may increase the risk of developing severe acne. They suggest that these genes, involved in steroid hormone metabolism and inflammation respectively, may have a role in the biological mechanisms underlying the disease.

These findings increase our understanding of the mechanisms that cause severe acne.

doi: 10.1038/ncomms3870

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