One approach to the identification of genetic loci that influence complex diseases is through the study of quantitative risk factors correlated with disease susceptibility. Factor XII (FXII) plasma levels, a related phenotype correlated with thrombosis, is such a risk factor. We conducted the first genomewide linkage screen to localize genes that influence variation in FXII levels. Two loci were detected: one on chromosome 5 and another on chromosome 10 (LOD scores 4.73 and 3.53, respectively). On chromosome 5, the peak LOD score occurred in the 5q33-5ter region, near the FXII gene. Addition of a 46C/T mutation in the FXII gene increased the multipoint LOD score to 10.21 (P = 3.6 × 10-12). A bivariate linkage analysis of FXII activity and thrombosis further improved the linkage signal (LOD = 11.73) and provided strong evidence that this quantitative-trait locus (QTL) has a pleiotropic effect on the risk of thrombosis (P =. 004). Linkage analysis conditional on 46C/T indicated that this mutation alone cannot explain the chromosome 5 signal, implying that other functional sites must exist. These results represent the first direct genetic evidence that a QTL in or near the FXII gene influences both FXII activity and susceptibility to thrombosis and suggest the presence of one or more still unknown functional variants in FXII.
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