-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
FRIDAY, Oct. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have identified
a certain gene associated with susceptibility to herpes simplex
labialis, more commonly known as cold sores.
People who carry this gene may have more frequent and severe
outbreaks of the small blister-like lesions that appear around the
mouth, the new study said. The researchers noted that their
findings could lead to the development of new treatments for the
herpes simplex virus type 1, which infects 70 percent of the U.S.
population, according to a news release from the Infectious
Diseases Society of America.
In the study, investigators identified an area on human
chromosome 21 among 618 people from 43 large families where six
genes that have been previously linked to cold sores are located.
They found one gene in particular, known as C21orf91, was linked to
more frequent outbreaks.
"While these findings await confirmation in a larger, unrelated population, these findings could have important implications for the development of new drugs that affect determinants of the cold sore phenotype," study author Dr. John Kriesel and colleagues at the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City and the University of Massachusetts Medical School explained in the release.
In an editorial accompanying the study, published online Oct. 28
Journal of Infectious Diseases, Australian scientists noted that if the findings are confirmed, more research could also begin to investigate whether this gene also plays a role in genital herpes.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about
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