Genetic variants at the 16p13 locus confer risk for eosinophilic esophagitis.
Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the esophagus triggered by immune hypersensitivity to food. Herein, we tested whether genetic risk factors for known, non-allergic, immune-mediated diseases, particularly those involving autoimmunity, were associated with EoE risk. We used the high-density Immunochip platform, encoding 200,000 genetic variants for major auto-immune disease. Accordingly, 1214 subjects with EoE of European ancestry and 3734 population controls were genotyped and assessed using data directly generated or imputed from the previously published GWAS. We found lack of association of EoE with the genetic variants in the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I, II, and III genes and nearly all other loci using a highly powered study design with dense genotyping throughout the locus. Importantly, we identified an EoE risk locus at 16p13 with genome-wide significance (P=2.05 × 10, odds ratio = 0.76-0.81). This region is known to encode for the genes CLEC16A, DEXI, and CIITI, which are expressed in immune cells and esophageal epithelial cells. Suggestive EoE risk were also seen 5q23 (intergenic) and 7p15 (JAZF1). Overall, we have identified an additional EoE risk locus at 16p13 and highlight a shared and unique genetic etiology of EoE with a spectrum of immune-associated diseases.