Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Rheumatol. 1999 May;26(5):1024-34.

HLA-DRB1 genotype influences risk for and severity of rheumatoid arthritis.

Author information

  • 1Millenium Pharmaceuticals, Cambridge, MA, USA.



To examine how HLA-DRB1 genotypes influence rheumatoid arthritis (RA) risk and clinical severity.


We performed polymerase chain reaction based DRB1 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) genotyping of 309 Caucasian RA and 283 Caucasian control subjects. For risk analyses, we grouped the DRB1 alleles encoding each specific shared epitope: *0401 alone, *0404 with *0102, *0405 with *0408 and *0101, and *1001 alone. For estimates of RA outcome, we retrospectively obtained data regarding ARA classification criteria, age of disease onset and disease duration, number of slow acting antirheumatic drugs (SAARD) used, and rheumatoid factor (RF).


Homozygous shared-epitope DRB1 genotypes, compound heterozygous genotypes, and simple heterozygous genotypes all conferred elevated relative risk (RR) for RA (RR 4.3, 11.7, and 3.5, respectively). However, compound heterozygous genotypes conferred more risk than either simple heterozygous genotype (RR 3.3, p = 0.004) or homozygous genotype (RR 2.8, p = 0.036). There was a trend toward more compound heterozygous genotypes in the male RA group than in the female RA group (p < 0.1), and male sex was associated with higher frequency of rheumatoid nodules (56 vs 35% for female RA). RA outcome was estimated by number of SAARD used; mean SAARD used was higher in male than in female RA (p < 0.01) and higher in genotypes containing one or 2 shared epitope DRB1 alleles than in those negative for shared epitope DRB1 alleles (p < 0.05). Analyses also suggested that shared epitope DRB1 genotype significantly influenced the occurrence of seropositive RA. Seropositive RA fraction was related to either number of shared epitope alleles (0, 1, or 2) represented in the DRB1 genotype, or, alternatively, to the combination of sex with shared epitope DRB1 genotype. The presence of one or 2 shared epitope DRB alleles influenced the occurrence of high titer seropositive RA as defined by sheep cell agglutination test (p < 0.01). TNFab microsatellite markers and TNF promoter polymorphisms did not influence SAARD number, seropositive RA, or high titer seropositive RA.


Not all shared epitope DRB1 genotypes conferred the same relative risk, and the male RA group tended to have more compound heterozygous genotypes and more severe RA as indicated by rheumatoid nodules and SAARD usage. DRB1 genotypes with one or 2 shared epitope DRB1 alleles influenced the RA outcome as estimated by numbers of SAARD used and RF.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk