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Scand J Rheumatol. 2005 Mar-Apr;34(2):114-21.

Extended haplotype analysis reveals an association of TNF polymorphisms with susceptibility to systemic lupus erythematosus beyond HLA-DR3.

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  • 1Department of Medicine B, Münster University Hospital, Germany. h.schotte@uni-muenster.de



To study the relative contribution of tumour necrosis factor (TNF) and HLA-DRB1 polymorphisms to the genetic susceptibility to systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) via an extended haplotype analysis.


We performed an association study in 205 unrelated German Caucasian patients with SLE fulfilling the 1997 revised American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria. Healthy age-, ethnically- and sex-matched individuals (n = 157) served as controls. HLA-DRB1 typing was performed by a sequence-specific oligonucleotide hybridisation assay. Two TNF single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and two multiallelic microsatellites were analysed by mutagenically separated polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or fragment length analysis, respectively. Extended haplotypes were reconstructed with the PHASE software.


Alleles for all polymorphic loci studied and the most frequent haplotypes showed a significantly different distribution between SLE patients and controls. The alleles HLA-DR2, DR3, TNFd1, TNF2, TNFB*1, and TNFa2, designated as risk alleles, and the extended haplotypes DR3-TNFd1-TNF2-TNFB*1-TNFa2 and DR2-TNFd3-TNF1-TNFB*2-TNFa11 prevailed in SLE patients. TNF risk alleles were strongly positively linked with HLA-DR3 and negatively linked with HLA-DR2. Thus, in HLA-DR3 haplotypes individual effects of TNF polymorphisms could not be resolved. By contrast, HLA-DR2 showed an association with SLE independently of TNF risk alleles, while the risk increased further when they were present. In haplotypes lacking HLA-DR2 and DR3, the alleles TNFdl and TNF2 contributed independently to SLE susceptibility.


Extended haplotype analysis revealed HLA-DR3 independent associations of TNF polymorphisms with susceptibility to SLE. Haplotypes that have been shown to be associated with different TNF-alpha production capacity may prevail in different disease subgroups.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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