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Association of HLA-DRB1 amino acid residues with giant cell arteritis: genetic association study, meta-analysis and geo-epidemiological investigation.

Arthritis Res Ther; 17: 195, 2015 Jul 30.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-26223536


Giant cell arteritis (GCA) is an autoimmune disease commonest in Northern Europe and Scandinavia. Previous studies report various associations with HLA-DRB1*04 and HLA-DRB1*01; HLA-DRB1 alleles show a gradient in population prevalence within Europe. Our aims were (1) to determine which amino acid residues within HLA-DRB1 best explained HLA-DRB1 allele susceptibility and protective effects in GCA, seen in UK data combined in meta-analysis with previously published data, and (2) to determine whether the incidence of GCA in different countries is associated with the population prevalence of the HLA-DRB1 alleles that we identified in our meta-analysis.


GCA patients from the UK GCA Consortium were genotyped by using single-strand oligonucleotide polymerization, allele-specific polymerase chain reaction, and direct sequencing. Meta-analysis was used to compare and combine our results with published data, and public databases were used to identify amino acid residues that may explain observed susceptibility/protective effects. Finally, we determined the relationship of HLA-DRB1*04 population carrier frequency and latitude to GCA incidence reported in different countries.


In our UK data (225 cases and 1378 controls), HLA-DRB1*04 carriage was associated with GCA susceptibility (odds ratio (OR) = 2.69, P = 1.5×10(-11)), but HLA-DRB1*01 was protective (adjusted OR = 0.55, P = 0.0046). In meta-analysis combined with 14 published studies (an additional 691 cases and 4038 controls), protective effects were seen from HLA-DR2, which comprises HLA-DRB1*15 and HLA-DRB1*16 (OR = 0.65, P = 8.2×10(-6)) and possibly from HLA-DRB1*01 (OR = 0.73, P = 0.037). GCA incidence (n = 17 countries) was associated with population HLA-DRB1*04 allele frequency (P = 0.008; adjusted R(2) = 0.51 on univariable analysis, adjusted R(2) = 0.62 after also including latitude); latitude also made an independent contribution.


We confirm that HLA-DRB1*04 is a GCA susceptibility allele. The susceptibility data are best explained by amino acid risk residues V, H, and H at positions 11, 13, and 33, contrary to previous suggestions of amino acids in the second hypervariable region. Worldwide, GCA incidence was independently associated both with population frequency of HLA-DRB1*04 and with latitude itself. We conclude that variation in population HLA-DRB1*04 frequency may partly explain variations in GCA incidence and that HLA-DRB1*04 may warrant investigation as a potential prognostic or predictive biomarker.