Genetic epidemiology: Systemic sclerosis
Arthritis Research Campaign Epidemiology Unit, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
Arthritis Res 2002, 4:165-168 doi:10.1186/ar402Published: 16 January 2002
Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a multisystem connective tissue disease characterised phenotypically by fibrosis and ischaemic atrophy. Its aetiology is most likely multifactorial. A genetic predisposition to the condition is suggested by reports of familial SSc (a positive family history is the strongest risk factor yet identified), by animal models, and by disease-association studies, in which researchers have examined a wide variety of genes including those involved in fibrosis, in vascular function and structure, and in autoimmunity – the relative rarity of SSc has precluded linkage studies, except in the Choctaw Indians. Recent advances in genetic methodologies should further our understanding of this complex disease process.