A previous genome-wide association study (GWAS) performed in 963 Japanese individuals (487 primary biliary cholangitis [PBC] cases and 476 healthy controls) identified TNFSF15 (rs4979462) and POU2AF1 (rs4938534) as strong susceptibility loci for PBC. In this study, we performed GWAS in additional 1,923 Japanese individuals (894 PBC cases and 1,029 healthy controls),and combined the results with the previous data. This GWAS, together with a subsequent replication study in an independent set of 7,024 Japanese individuals (512 PBC cases and 6,512 healthy controls), identified PRKCB (rs7404928) as a novel susceptibility locus for PBC (odds ratio [OR] = 1.26, P=4.13×10-9). Furthermore, a primary functional variant of PRKCB (rs35015313) was identified by genotype imputation using a phased panel of 1,070 Japanese individuals from a prospective, general population cohort study and subsequent in vitro functional analyses. These results may lead to improved understanding of the disease pathways involved in PBC, forming a basis for prevention of PBC and development of novel therapeutics.
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