Generalized vitiligo is a common autoimmune disorder characterized by the development of white patches of skin and overlying hair due to loss of pigment-forming melanocytes from the involved areas. Family clustering of cases is not uncommon, in a pattern suggestive of multifactorial, polygenic inheritance, and there is strong association between vitiligo and other autoimmune diseases. To map genetic loci that confer susceptibility to generalized vitiligo and perhaps other autoimmune diseases, we performed a genomewide linkage scan in 71 white multiplex families with vitiligo from North America and the United Kingdom. Linkage was assessed by multipoint nonparametric linkage analyses. One linkage signal, AISI, located at 1p31, met genomewide criteria for highly significant linkage (nonparametric LOD 5.56; P = .000000282), establishing its importance as a major vitiligo susceptibility locus. An additional seven signals, on chromosomes 1, 7, 8, 11, 19, and 22, met genomewide criteria for "suggestive linkage," and will thus be of particular importance for follow-up studies.
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