Noninherited maternal antigens do not increase the susceptibility for familial rheumatoid arthritis. European Consortium on Rheumatoid Arthritis Families (ECRAF).
SourceThe Journal of Rheumatology, 28, 5, (2001), pp. 968--74
Article / Letter to editor
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The Journal of Rheumatology
SubjectChronic arthritis: Pathogenesis and treatment; Chronische arthritis: Pathogenese en behandeling
OBJECTIVE: It has been proposed that noninherited maternal HLA-DR antigens (NIMA) might play a role in the susceptibility for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This hypothesis has not been thoroughly tested in patients with familial RA, in whom genetic factors, either inherited or not, might have stronger influence than in patients with sporadic RA. We investigated the NIMA hypothesis in a large cohort of European patients with familial RA. METHODS: The distribution of NIMA, noninherited paternal antigens (NIPA), and inherited HLA-DR antigens was assessed in patients with familial RA from all family sets collected from 1996 onwards by the ECRAF. HLA-DRB1 oligotyping from patients and all available nonaffected siblings and parents was carried out. Familial RA was defined by the presence of at least 2 affected first-degree relatives in the same family. The frequencies of HLA-DR NIMA and NIPA were compared using odds ratios after stratification for HLA-DR*04, *0401, and/or *0404 and shared epitope (SE) status. NIMA/NIPA that coincided with inherited parental HLA-DR antigens were considered redundant and were excluded from analysis. RESULTS: NIMA and NIPA could be analyzed in 165 RA patients with familial RA and 84 nonaffected siblings. Patients were predominantly female, rheumatoid factor positive, and had erosive disease (81, 75, and 84%, respectively). Possession of HLA-DR*04 and *0401/*0404 alleles tended be more frequent in patients than in nonaffected siblings but this did not reach statistical significance. SE possession was similar in patients and healthy siblings, although the former had a double dose SE more often (37.6 vs 17.8%; p = 0.002). Transmission of SE encoding alleles from parents to offspring was skewed only in patients [OR (95% CI) 3.56 (2.55-4.95) vs 1.16 (0.75-1.79) in nonaffected siblings]. Using the NIPA as control, the frequencies of HLA-DRB1*04, *0401/*0404, and SE positive NIMA were not increased in patients lacking these susceptibility alleles. The frequencies of NIMA encoding susceptibility alleles in DR*04 and *0401/*0404 negative patients were lower than in nonaffected siblings. CONCLUSION: Our results corroborate the association between RA and inherited SE alleles and do not support a role for noninherited HLA-DR maternal antigens in the susceptibility for familial RA.
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