The majority of genetic risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are associated with anti-citrullinated protein antibody (ACPA)-positive RA, while far fewer genetic risk factors have been identified for ACPA-negative RA. This study was undertaken to quantify the contribution of genetic risk factors in general, and of the predisposing HLA-DRB1 shared epitope (SE) alleles in particular, to the ACPA-positive and ACPA-negative subsets of RA, by computing their heritability and assessing the contribution of the HLA SE alleles.
One hundred forty-eight RA twin pairs, in which at least 1 twin of each pair had RA, were tested for ACPAs and typed for HLA-DRB1 genotypes. Heritability was assessed in a logistic regression model including a bivariate, normally distributed random effect, representing the contribution of unobserved genetic factors to RA susceptibility, with the correlation of the random effects fixed according to twin zygosity. The contribution of the HLA SE alleles to genetic variance was assessed using a similar model, except that estimates were based on genotype-specific population prevalences.
The heritability of RA among the twin pairs was 66% (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 44-75%). For ACPA-positive RA, the heritability was 68% (95% CI 55-79%), and for ACPA-negative RA it was 66% (95% CI 21-82%). Presence of the HLA SE alleles explained 18% (95% CI 16-19%) of the genetic variance of ACPA-positive RA but only 2.4% (95% CI 1.6-10%) of the genetic variance of ACPA-negative RA.
The heritability of ACPA-positive RA is comparable with that of ACPA-negative RA. These data indicate that genetic predisposition plays an important role in the pathogenesis of ACPA-negative RA, for which most individual genetic risk factors remain to be identified.
"SE alleles, lymphoid-specific tyrosine phosphatase (LYP)/protein tyrosine phosphatase, nonreceptor type (PTPN) 22, and cigarette smoking are risk factors for the development of ACPA positive RA patients  . Further, it has been reported that also the noninherited maternal HLA antigens (NIMA), originally discovered in transplantation immunology , containing the RA-protective DERAA sequence, protect DERAA-negative children against RA  . It has been recently reported that the gene polymorphism may not only be associated with the pathogenesis of SAIRDs, but also with the outcome of the treatment and the progression of the disease. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Systemic autoimmune and rheumatic diseases (SAIRDs) are thought to develop due to the failure of autoimmune regulation and tolerance. Current therapies, such as biologics, have improved the clinical results of SAIRDs; however, they are not curative treatments. Recently, new discoveries have been made in immune tolerance and inflammation, such as tolerogenic dendritic cells, regulatory T and B cells, Th 17 cells, inflammatory and tolerogenic cytokines, and intracellular signaling pathways. They lay the foundation for the next generation of the therapies beyond the currently used biologic therapies. New drugs should target the core processes involved in disease mechanisms with the aim to attain complete cure combined with safety and low costs compared to the biologic agents. Re-establishment of autoimmune regulation and tolerance in SAIRDs by the end of the current decade should be the final and realistic target.
"Autoimmunity to citrullinated proteins is highly specific for RA and may be of pathogenic significance . Risk of developing RA is of 50% attributable to genetic factors . Smoking is the major known environmental risk factor for RA. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and chronic and aggressive periodontitis are chronic inflammatory disorders characterized by deregulation of the host inflammatory response. Increased secretion of pro-inflammatory mediators results in soft and hard tissue destruction of the synovium and periodontium respectively. Both diseases share risk factors and have pathological pathways in common, resulting in loss of function and disability as a final clinical outcome. This article discusses possible interactions, particularly related to the periodontal pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis, which could explain the observed association between these two prevalent diseases.
"Indeed for several complex disorders, genetic factors play only a role in a subset of the cases. One example is Rheumatoid Arthritis for which the underlying genetic mechanisms appear to be different in CCP positive compared to CCP negative patients (Van der Woude et al., 2009). If gene covariate interaction is present, the test statistic will have a different mean for different covariate values. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In order to study family-based association in the presence of linkage, we extend a generalized linear mixed model proposed for genetic linkage analysis (Lebrec and van Houwelingen (2007), Human Heredity 64, 5-15) by adding a genotypic effect to the mean. The corresponding score test is a weighted family-based association tests statistic, where the weight depends on the linkage effect and on other genetic and shared environmental effects. For testing of genetic association in the presence of gene-covariate interaction, we propose a linear regression method where the family-specific score statistic is regressed on family-specific covariates. Both statistics are straightforward to compute. Simulation results show that adjusting the weight for the within-family variance structure may be a powerful approach in the presence of environmental effects. The test statistic for genetic association in the presence of gene-covariate interaction improved the power for detecting association. For illustration, we analyze the rheumatoid arthritis data from GAW15. Adjusting for smoking and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide increased the significance of the association with the DR locus.
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