by Chikashi Terao, Koichiro Ohmura, Katsunori Ikari, Yuta Kochi, Etsuko Maruya, Masaki Katayama, Kimiko Yurugi, Kota Shimada, Akira Murasawa, Shigeru Honjo, Kiyoshi Takasugi, Keitaro Matsuo, Kazuo Tajima, Akari Suzuki, Kazuhiko Yamamoto, Shigeki Momohara, Hisashi Yamanaka, Ryo Yamada, Hiroo Saji, Fumihiko Matsuda, Tsuneyo Mimori
HLA-DRB1, especially the shared epitope (SE), is strongly associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, recent studies have shown that SE is at most weakly associated with RA without anti-citrullinated peptide/protein antibody (ACPA). We have recently reported that ACPA-negative RA is associated with specific HLA-DRB1 alleles and diplotypes. Here, we attempted to detect genetically different subsets of ACPA-negative RA by classifying ACPA-negative RA patients into two groups based on their positivity for rheumatoid factor (RF). HLA-DRB1 genotyping data for totally 954 ACPA-negative RA patients and 2,008 healthy individuals in two independent sets were used. HLA-DRB1 allele and diplotype frequencies were compared among the ACPA-negative RF-positive RA patients, ACPA-negative RF-negative RA patients, and controls in each set. Combined results were also analyzed. A similar analysis was performed in 685 ACPA-positive RA patients classified according to their RF positivity. As a result, HLA-DRB1*04:05 and *09:01 showed strong associations with ACPA-negative RF-positive RA in the combined analysis (p?=?8.8×10-6 and 0.0011, OR: 1.57 (1.28–1.91) and 1.37 (1.13–1.65), respectively). We also found that HLA-DR14 and the HLA-DR8 homozygote were associated with ACPA-negative RF-negative RA (p?=?0.00022 and 0.00013, OR: 1.52 (1.21–1.89) and 3.08 (1.68–5.64), respectively). These association tendencies were found in each set. On the contrary, we could not detect any significant differences between ACPA-positive RA subsets. As a conclusion, ACPA-negative RA includes two genetically distinct subsets according to RF positivity in Japan, which display different associations with HLA-DRB1. ACPA-negative RF-positive RA is strongly associated with HLA-DRB1*04:05 and *09:01. ACPA-negative RF-negative RA is associated with DR14 and the HLA-DR8 homozygote.