A genetic mismatch involving the gene UGT2B17 is associated with risk of acute graft-versus-host-disease, according to a study published online in this week's Nature Genetics.
Graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD) is a common complication after bone marrow transplant and is caused by an immune response mounted by the donor-derived cells against the host's body. GVHD occurs in 30-40% of transplants between related donors and recipients and up to 60-80% of transplants between unrelated donors and recipients.
Steven McCarroll and colleagues analyzed gene deletions in over 1000 sibling donor-recipient pairs and found a greater risk of acute GVHD in pairs where the donor had deletions in both copies of the gene UGT2B17 and the recipient did not have these deletions. The risk effect of UGT2B17 mismatch is comparable to the established risk effect of gender mismatch ― such as female donor and male recipient.