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Int J Rheum Dis. 2017 Jul;20(7):832-838. doi: 10.1111/1756-185X.12922. Epub 2016 Jul 14.

Meta-analyses of the association of HLA-DRB1 alleles with rheumatoid arthritis among Arabs.

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Centre for Arab Genomic Studies, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.



Various studies incorporating Arab populations have reported on specific associations between HLA-DRB1 variants and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). We sought to provide an overview on the association of HLA-DRB1 with RA in Arabs using meta-analysis tools.


Data on allele counts and frequencies were compiled from the relevant literature (published before 16 February 2016) and the associations of 13 -DRB1 variants with RA were assessed; relationships were defined in terms of odds ratios (ORs) with a 95% confidence interval.


Based on a collection of six studies, risk conferring or protective allele associations were derived from allele counts in 475 RA patients and 1213 controls. Two HLA-DRB1 alleles (-DRB1*04, *10) significantly conferred an increased risk for RA (OR > 2; P < 0.0001). Conversely, four alleles (-DRB1*03, *07, *11 and *13) significantly conferred a protective effect against RA (OR < 1; P < 0.05). No significant associations with RA were found for seven -DRB1 variants (-DRB1*01, *08, *09, *12, *14, *15 and *16).


With increased statistical power and effect size over individual studies, we present a more robust profile on the association of HLA-DRB1 variants with RA in the Arab ethnicity, and contribute to the global geo-ethnic picture in this context.


Arabs; HLA-DRB1; genetic susceptibility; rheumatoid arthritis

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