To identify novel susceptibility loci for Crohn disease (CD), we undertook a genome-wide association study with more than 300,000 SNPs characterized in 547 patients and 928 controls. We found three chromosome regions that provided evidence of disease association with p-values between 10(-6) and 10(-9). Two of these (IL23R on Chromosome 1 and CARD15 on Chromosome 16) correspond to genes previously reported to be associated with CD. In addition, a 250-kb region of Chromosome 5p13.1 was found to contain multiple markers with strongly suggestive evidence of disease association (including four markers with p < 10(-7)). We replicated the results for 5p13.1 by studying 1,266 additional CD patients, 559 additional controls, and 428 trios. Significant evidence of association (p < 4 x 10(-4)) was found in case/control comparisons with the replication data, while associated alleles were over-transmitted to affected offspring (p < 0.05), thus confirming that the 5p13.1 locus contributes to CD susceptibility. The CD-associated 250-kb region was saturated with 111 SNP markers. Haplotype analysis supports a complex locus architecture with multiple variants contributing to disease susceptibility. The novel 5p13.1 CD locus is contained within a 1.25-Mb gene desert. We present evidence that disease-associated alleles correlate with quantitative expression levels of the prostaglandin receptor EP4, PTGER4, the gene that resides closest to the associated region. Our results identify a major new susceptibility locus for CD, and suggest that genetic variants associated with disease risk at this locus could modulate cis-acting regulatory elements of PTGER4.
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