Family recurrence risk of alopecia areata in the Faroe Islands

E W Jacobsen, O B Pedersen, G Andorsdóttir, G B E Jemec, L E Bryld

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BACKGROUND: Reports of a positive family history of alopecia areata (AA) have led to the assumption of a genetic component. The Faroe Islands population is small, has been isolated until the 20th century, and is served by only one dermatology clinic, making it highly suitable for genealogical studies.

AIM: To determine the incidence of AA and to estimate the recurrence risk ratio (RRR) in five generations and in a nationwide dermatologist-based AA cohort using the Faroese genealogy database.

METHODS: All registered cases of AA during the period 1973-2011 were identified from the Faroese national dermatology clinics. The AA cases were linked with the genealogy database covering the entire Faroese population, and the probability of AA among first-, second- and third-degree relatives was calculated.

RESULTS: In total, 178 cases of AA were identified, giving a crude incidence of 10.1 per 100 000 person-years (10.9 for women and 9.4 for men). The cumulative incidence proportion over life was 0.8%. There was no apparent trend in the probabilities for AA in first-degree family members compared with second- and third-degree relatives. RRR was > 1 in second-degree family members only.

CONCLUSION: A lower prevalence rate of AA was found than previously published. The genealogical study failed to identify any apparent trend in the RRR estimates, questioning the role of genetic factors in AA in the Faroe Islands. However, it is possible that the trend is masked by bias and low power; larger studies are therefore warranted to estimate the heritability of AA.

Sider (fra-til)e224-e229
TidsskriftClinical and Experimental Dermatology
Udgave nummer7
StatusUdgivet - okt. 2019

Bibliografisk note

� 2019 British Association of Dermatologists.


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