A genome-wide association study identifies potential susceptibility Loci for hirschsprung disease.
Hirschsprung disease (HSCR) is a congenital and heterogeneous disorder characterized by the absence of intramural nervous plexuses along variable lengths of the hindgut. Although RET is a well-established risk factor, a recent genome-wide association study (GWAS) of HSCR has identified NRG1 as an additional susceptibility locus. To discover additional risk loci, we performed a GWAS of 123 sporadic HSCR patients and 432 unaffected controls using a large-scale platform with coverage of over 1 million polymorphic markers. The result was that our study replicated the findings of RET-CSGALNACT2-RASGEF1A genomic region (rawP = 5.69×10-19 before a Bonferroni correction; corrP = 4.31×10-13 after a Bonferroni correction) and NRG1 as susceptibility loci. In addition, this study identified SLC6A20 (adjP = 2.71×10-6), RORA (adjP = 1.26×10-5), and ABCC9 (adjP = 1.86×10-5) as new potential susceptibility loci under adjusting the already known loci on the RET-CSGALNACT2-RASGEF1A and NRG1 regions, although none of the SNPs in these genes passed the Bonferroni correction. In further subgroup analysis, the RET-CSGALNACT2-RASGEF1A genomic region was observed to have different significance levels among subgroups: short-segment (S-HSCR, corrP = 1.71×10-5), long-segment (L-HSCR, corrP = 6.66×10-4), and total colonic aganglionosis (TCA, corrP>0.05). This differential pattern in the significance level suggests that other genomic loci or mechanisms may affect the length of aganglionosis in HSCR subgroups during enteric nervous system (ENS) development. Although functional evaluations are needed, our findings might facilitate improved understanding of the mechanisms of HSCR pathogenesis.