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Arthritis Rheum. 2001 Mar;44(3):535-40.

Influence of shared epitope-negative HLA-DRB1 alleles on genetic susceptibility to rheumatoid arthritis.

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1
EFS Alpes Méditerranée, Marseilles, France.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Most patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) express the shared epitope (SE). It is not known whether SE-negative HLA-DRB1 alleles influence the development of RA. This study examined the influence of SE-negative HLA-DR alleles (DRB1*X) on the development of RA in 3 different French populations.

METHODS:

HLA-DRB1 alleles were defined by polymerase chain reaction with sequence-specific oligonucleotide hybridization or sequence-specific primers. SE-negative alleles were classified according to the electric charge of their P4 pocket. HLA-DRB1 alleles *0103, *0402, *07, *08, *11 (except *1107), *12, and *13 have a neutral or negative P4 charge and are called DRB1*XP4n. HLA-DRB1*03, *0403, *0406, *0407, *0901, *1107, *14, *15, and *16 have a positive P4 charge and are called DRB1*XP4p.

RESULTS:

Among the SE-negative subjects, DRB1 genotypes with 1 or 2 DRB1*XP4n alleles were significantly overrepresented in the control subjects compared with the RA patients, whereas DRB1*XP4p/XP4p genotypes were equally represented in the patients and controls. In single-dose SE-positive subjects, SE/XP4n genotypes were equally represented in the patients and controls. However, SE/XP4p genotypes were significantly overrepresented in the RA patients.

CONCLUSION:

The DRB1*X allele polymorphism influences susceptibility to RA. Alleles that have a neutral or negative electric charge in their P4 pocket (DRB1*XP4n), such as DRB1*0103, *0402, *07, *08, *11 (except *1107), *12, and *13, protect against RA. Alleles that have a positive electric charge in their P4 pocket (DRB1*XP4p), such as DRB1*03, *0403, *0406, *0407, *0901, *1107, *14, *15, and *16, have no influence on the predisposition to RA.

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