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A role for T cells in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS) is well supported, evidenced by myriad immunological studies, as well as the unequivocal genetic influence of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). Despite many attempts, no convincing genetic associations have been made between T-cell receptor (TCR) gene loci and MS. However, these studies may not be definitive because of small sample sizes and under-representative marker coverage of the chromosomal regions being investigated. To explore potential roles between the TCR alpha locus and MS, we have genotyped a large family-based cohort, including 1360 affected individuals and 1659 of their unaffected first-degree relatives, at 40 single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers within the TCR alpha/delta locus. This represents the largest TCR alpha-MS study to date. From this screen, we identified three potential loci of interest in TCR alpha variable and constant gene regions using the transmission disequilibrium test. Although SNPs implicating each of these regions of interest will require genotyping in independent replication cohorts, these findings suggest a role for TCR gene polymorphisms in MS susceptibility. In the context of these findings we review the evidence.

Original publication




Journal article


Genes Immun

Publication Date





59 - 66


Cohort Studies, Genes, T-Cell Receptor alpha, Genes, T-Cell Receptor delta, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Genotype, Humans, Multiple Sclerosis, Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide, Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta, Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta, T-Lymphocytes