Associations between six classical HLA loci and rheumatoid arthritis: A comprehensive analysis

S. Mitsunaga, Y. Suzuki, M. Kuwana, S. Sato, Y. Kaneko, Y. Homma, A. Narita, K. Kashiwase, Y. Okudaira, I. Inoue, J. K. Kulski, H. Inoko

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16 Citations (Scopus)


Although the HLA region contributes to one-third of the genetic factors affecting rheumatoid arthritis (RA), there are few reports on the association of the disease with any of the HLA loci other than the DRB1. In this study we examined the association between RA and the alleles of the six classical HLA loci including DRB1. Six HLA loci (HLA-A, -B, -C, -DRB1, -DQB1 and -DPB1) of 1659 Japanese subjects (622 cases; 488 anti-cyclic citrullinated peptides (CCP) antibody (Ab) positive (82.6%); 103 anti-CCP Ab negative (17.4%); 31 not known and 1037 controls) were genotyped. Disease types and positivity/negativity for CCP autoantibodies were used to stratify the cases. Statistical and genetic assessments were performed by Fisher's exact tests, odds ratio, trend tests and haplotype estimation. None of the HLA loci were significantly associated with CCP sero-negative cases after Bonferroni correction and we therefore limited further analyses to using only the anti CCP-positive RA cases and both anti-CCP positive and anti-CCP negative controls. Some alleles of the non-DRB1 HLA loci showed significant association with RA, which could be explained by linkage disequilibrium with DRB1 alleles. However, DPB1*02:01, DPB1*04:01 and DPB1*09:01 conferred RA risk/protection independently from DRB1. DPB1*02:01 was significantly associated with the highly erosive disease type. The odds ratio of the four HLA-loci haplotypes with DRB1*04:05 and DQB1*04:01, which were the high-risk HLA alleles in Japanese, varied from 1.01 to 5.58. C*07:04, and B*15:18 showed similar P-values and odds ratios to DRB1*04:01, which was located on the same haplotype. This haplotype analysis showed that the DRB1 gene as well as five other HLA loci is required for a more comprehensive understanding of the genetic association between HLA and RA than analyzing DRB1 alone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-25
Number of pages10
JournalTissue Antigens
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jul


  • Association study
  • Bone erosion
  • HLA haplotypes
  • HLA-DPB1
  • Rheumatoid arthritis


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