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Variants in the LGALS9 Gene Are Associated With Development of Liver Disease in Heavy Consumers of Alcohol

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Ann DalyORCiD, Professor Chris Day



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


BACKGROUND & AIMS: Alcohol consumption is a major cause of chronic liver disease and contributes to a large proportion of cirrhosis-related deaths worldwide. However, only a fraction of heavy consumers of alcohol develop advanced alcoholic liver disease (ALD), so there are likely to be other risk factors. We investigated whether polymorphisms in the gene encoding galectin-9 (LGALS9), previously shown to mediate liver injury, were associated with the development of ALD.METHODS: We isolated DNA from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of 575 individuals with at-risk alcohol consumption but no other risk factors for chronic liver disease; all subjects were white Europeans who had consumed more than 80 grams ethanol per day. Of the subjects, 388 had ALD (including, 268 with cirrhosis and 74 with alcoholic hepatitis; mean age, 49 y; 72% male) and 187 had normal liver function with no biochemical or clinical evidence of liver disease (controls; mean age, 42 y; 73% male). Select LGALS9 polymorphisms were genotyped using allelic discrimination. We also genotyped and measured expression of LGALS9 messenger RNA in PBMCs from individuals who were not heavy consumers of alcohol.RESULTS: We used data from the HapMap project to identify 5 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that tag all the common haplotypes. When we looked for these SNPs in individuals with vs without liver disease, 4 (rs3751093, rs4239242, rs732222, and rs4794976) were associated with an increased risk of developing ALD. We found that levels of LGALS9 messenger RNA and protein expressed were associated with an allele carried by PBMCs. Multivariate analysis confirmed that rs4239242 and rs4794976 were associated with an increased risk of ALD.CONCLUSIONS: In a genetic analysis of heavy consumers of alcohol, we associated 2 SNPS in LGALS9 with the development of ALD. Although larger studies are required, this information could be used to determine the risk of individuals developing ALD or to develop therapeutic agents.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Rosen HR, Golden-Mason L, Daly AK, Yang I, Day CP

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology

Year: 2016

Volume: 14

Issue: 5

Pages: 762-768

Print publication date: 01/05/2016

Online publication date: 18/11/2015

Acceptance date: 01/01/1900

Date deposited: 03/06/2016

ISSN (print): 1542-3565

ISSN (electronic): 1542-7714

Publisher: W.B. Saunders Co.


DOI: 10.1016/j.cgh.2015.11.005


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Funder referenceFunder name
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
K24AI083742National Institutes of Health