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Shared Epitope Alleles Remain A Risk Factor for Anti-Citrullinated Proteins Antibody (ACPA) – Positive Rheumatoid Arthritis in Three Asian Ethnic Groups
Published: Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Author: Too Chun-Lai et al.

by Too Chun-Lai, Leonid Padyukov, Jasbir Singh Dhaliwal, Emeli Lundström, Abqariyah Yahya, Nor Asiah Muhamad, Lars Klareskog, Lars Alfredsson, Per Tobias Larsson, Shahnaz Murad, for the Malaysian Epidemiological Investigation of Rheumatoid Arthritis (MyEIRA) Study Group


To investigate the associations between HLA-DRB1 shared epitope (SE) alleles and rheumatoid arthritis in subsets of rheumatoid arthritis defined by autoantibodies in three Asian populations from Malaysia.


1,079 rheumatoid arthritis patients and 1,470 healthy controls were included in the study. Levels of antibodies to citrullinated proteins (ACPA) and rheumatoid factors were assessed and the PCR-SSO method was used for HLA-DRB1 genotyping.


The proportion of ACPA positivity among Malay, Chinese and Indian rheumatoid arthritis patients were 62.9%, 65.2% and 68.6%, respectively. An increased frequency of SE alleles was observed in ACPA-positive rheumatoid arthritis among the three Asian ethnic groups. HLA-DRB1*10 was highly associated with rheumatoid arthritis susceptibility in these Asian populations. HLA-DRB1*0405 was significantly associated with susceptibility to rheumatoid arthritis in Malays and Chinese, but not in Indians. HLA-DRB1*01 did not show any independent effect as a risk factor for rheumatoid arthritis in this study and HLA-DRB1*1202 was protective in Malays and Chinese. There was no association between SE alleles and ACPA- negative rheumatoid arthritis in any of the three Asian ethnic groups.


The HLA-DRB1 SE alleles increase the risk of ACPA-positive rheumatoid arthritis in all three Asian populations from Malaysia.