Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease with complex genetic architecture. Emerging evidence has indicated comorbidity between ALS and autoimmune conditions, suggesting a potential shared genetic basis. The objective of this study is to assess the prognostic value of systematic screening for rare deleterious mutations in genes associated with ALS and aberrant inflammatory responses.
A discovery cohort of 494 patients and a validation cohort of 69 patients were analyzed in this study, with population-matched healthy subjects (n = 4961) served as controls. Whole exome sequencing (WES) was performed to identify rare deleterious variants in 50 ALS genes and 1177 genes associated with abnormal inflammatory responses. Genotype–phenotype correlation was assessed, and an integrative prognostic model incorporating genetic and clinical factors was constructed.
In the discovery cohort, 8.1% of patients carried confirmed ALS variants, and an additional 15.2% of patients carried novel ALS variants. Gene burden analysis revealed 303 immune-implicated genes with enriched rare variants, and 13.4% of patients harbored rare deleterious variants in these genes. Patients with ALS variants exhibited a more rapid disease progression (HR 2.87 [95% CI 2.03–4.07], p < 0.0001), while no significant effect was observed for immune-implicated variants. The nomogram model incorporating genetic and clinical information demonstrated improved accuracy in predicting disease outcomes (C-index, 0.749).
Our findings enhance the comprehension of the genetic basis of ALS within the Chinese population. It also appears that rare deleterious mutations occurring in immune-implicated genes exert minimal influence on the clinical trajectories of ALS patients.