Genetic epidemiology of the susceptibility to leprosy

E. D. Shields, D. A. Russell, M. A. Pericak-Vance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

78 Scopus citations

Abstract

To test the hypothesis that genetic factors are operative in the predisposition to leprosy (Hansen's disease) in humans, a genetic epidemiologic investigation was performed on 269 leprosy kindreds containing 552 affected individuals from an isolated population in Papua New Guinea. The community, and not the family, was the basic social unit. Leprosy, an infectious disease, was not communal but strongly familial within the Karimui. Segregation analysis, to determine whether a major gene for the susceptibility to leprosy was segregating within a single multi-generational kindred, could not differentiate between a Mendelian genetic and a purely environmental hypothesis. The composite kindred data, however, suggest a genetic hypothesis for the non-immunologically induced susceptibility to leprosy per se. Within familial kindreds leprosy invariably emanated from a common ancestral sibship, and risk was associated with the closeness of kin but not with infectivity or severity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1139-1143
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Volume79
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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