Interferon-beta1A-induced polyarthritis in a patient with the HLA-DRB1*0404 allele

Arthritis Rheum. 1999 Mar;42(3):569-73. doi: 10.1002/1529-0131(199904)42:3<569::AID-ANR23>3.0.CO;2-M.


Human interferon-alpha (IFNalpha) and IFNbeta are administered for treatment of several diseases, including viral infections, malignancies, and multiple sclerosis (MS). IFNalpha therapy has been associated with the production of autoantibodies and the development of a variety of autoimmune disorders, including polyarthritis. This report describes the development of seronegative, symmetric polyarthritis in a patient with relapsing-remitting MS, after 8 weeks of therapy with IFNbeta1a. HLA phenotyping analysis of the patient revealed the presence of HLA-DRB1*0404, an allele known to be associated with the development of rheumatoid arthritis. Therefore, IFNbeta1a may have induced arthritis in a patient who was genetically predisposed to develop arthritis on the basis of HLA determinants. The English-language literature regarding IFNalpha- and IFNbeta-induced polyarthritis is reviewed, and possible mechanisms for IFNalpha- and IFNbeta-induced autoimmunity, including the contribution of HLA determinants and nitric oxide overproduction, are discussed.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / adverse effects
  • Aged
  • Alleles
  • Arthritis / chemically induced*
  • Arthritis / genetics
  • Arthritis / therapy*
  • Female
  • HLA-DR Antigens / genetics*
  • HLA-DRB1 Chains
  • Humans
  • Interferon-beta / adverse effects*


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • HLA-DR Antigens
  • HLA-DRB1 Chains
  • Interferon-beta