OBJECTIVE: For decades it has been known that the HLA-DRB1 shared epitope (SE) alleles are associated with an increased risk of development and progression of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Recently, the following variations in the peptide-binding grooves of HLA molecules that predispose to RA development have been identified: Val and Leu at HLA-DRB1 position 11, Asp at HLA-B position 9, and Phe at HLA-DPB1 position 9. This study was undertaken to investigate whether these variants are also associated with radiographic progression in RA, independent of SE and anti-citrullinated protein antibody (ACPA) status.
METHODS: A total of 4,911 radiograph sets from 1,878 RA patients included in the Leiden Early Arthritis Clinic (The Netherlands), Umeå (Sweden), Hospital Clinico San Carlos-Rheumatoid Arthritis (Spain), and National Data Bank for Rheumatic Diseases (US) cohorts were studied. HLA was imputed using single-nucleotide polymorphism data from an Immunochip, and the amino acids listed above were tested in relation to radiographic progression per cohort using an additive model. Results from the 4 cohorts were combined in inverse-variance weighted meta-analyses using a fixed-effects model. Analyses were conditioned on SE and ACPA status.
RESULTS: Val and Leu at HLA-DRB1 position 11 were associated with more radiographic progression (meta-analysis P = 5.11 × 10(-7)); this effect was independent of SE status (meta-analysis P = 0.022) but not independent of ACPA status. Phe at HLA-DPB1 position 9 was associated with more severe radiographic progression (meta-analysis P = 0.024), though not independent of SE status. Asp at HLA-B position 9 was not associated with radiographic progression.
CONCLUSION: Val and Leu at HLA-DRB1 position 11 conferred a risk of a higher rate of radiographic progression independent of SE status but not independent of ACPA status. These findings support the relevance of these amino acids at position 11.
2015. Vol. 67, no 4, 877-886 p.