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Eur J Immunogenet. 1994 Dec;21(6):461-7.

TNF Nco-I RFLP is not an independent risk factor in rheumatoid arthritis.

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Department of Surgery, University of Glasgow, UK.


The human TNF genes are located within the MHC class-III region on chromosome 6. The presence or absence of an Nco-I restriction site in the 5' non-coding sequence of the TNF beta gene defines two alleles (TNFB*1 and TNFB*2). The segregation of these alleles has been associated with levels of TNF alpha or TNF beta production in systemic lupus erythematosis (SLE), insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) and in healthy control individuals. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is characterized by high levels of TNF alpha within the synovial fluid and to address the question of whether this could be brought about by a genetic predisposition to high TNF production by RA individuals, we examined the distribution of this Nco-I polymorphism in 98 healthy volunteers and 123 patients with active rheumatoid arthritis. No difference was observed between the normal and RA groups with respect to haplotype segregation or allelic frequency. Furthermore, no difference was observed between DR4+ or DR4- individuals in the control or RA groups. These data demonstrate that the high level of TNF alpha seen in the joints of RA patients is unlikely to be due to a genetic predisposition of these patients to high TNF alpha production, as defined by the TNF Nco-I restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP).

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