Objective: To investigate the relative contribution of HLA antigens in the susceptibility to psoriasis and to localize additional genetic factors involved in psoriatic arthritis (PsA).
Methods: DNA from 45 patients with psoriasis, 65 with PsA, and 177 healthy control subjects was examined by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using sequence-specific oligonucleotide probes to determine HLA-C. To examine whether MICA (class I major histocompatibility complex chain-related gene A) confers additional susceptibility, trinucleotide repeat polymorphism in the transmembrane region of the MICA gene was investigated by radioactive PCR. Further analysis of MICA was made by PCR-single-strand conformational polymorphism to determine the allelic variant corresponding to MICA transmembrane polymorphism.
Results: Our results reveal new findings: 1) the frequency of the Cw*0602 allele was significantly increased in both patient groups: psoriasis (corrected P [Pcorr] < 10(-5), relative risk [RR] 6.2), PsA (Pcorr < 10(-6), RR 6.3), 2) the trinucleotide repeat polymorphism MICA-A9 was present at a significantly higher frequency in PsA patients (Pcorr < 0.00035, RR 3.2), whereas a similar distribution was found in both the control and psoriasis population, 3) this polymorphism corresponds to the MICA-002 allele and was found to be overrepresented in patients with the polyarticular form (Pcorr < 0.0008, RR 9.35), 4) the increase in MICA-A9 in PsA patients is independent of linkage disequilibrium with Cw*0602, 5) this allele confers additional relative risk (RR 3.27, etiologic fraction 0.44; etiologic fraction is the proportion of disease cases among the total population that are attributable to 1 allele when the relative risk is > 1) in PsA patients who carry Cw*0602.
Conclusion: The data obtained in this study are consistent with the polygenic inheritance of psoriasis. Cw*0602 appears to be the stronger genetic susceptibility factor for psoriasis. Independent of the HLA-C association, MICA-A9 polymorphism corresponding to the MICA-002 allele is a possible candidate gene for the development of PsA.