Objective: To determine whether major histocompatibility complex class I chain-related gene A (MICA) polymorphisms are associated with susceptibility to rheumatoid arthritis (RA) independently of the HLA-DRB1 shared epitope (SE).
Methods: Fifty-four Spanish families with an affected son or daughter and 211 consecutive RA patients were genotyped for HLA-DRB1, tumor necrosis factor a/b microsatellite alleles, and MICA transmembrane polymorphism. We performed a case-control comparison with the consecutive patients and an independent transmission disequilibrium test with the families.
Results: The frequency of the MICA 6.0 allele was significantly reduced, compared with controls, in the group of SE+ patients (odds ratio 0.39, P = 0.0005). Additionally, the haplotypes containing this allele were preferentially not transmitted to the affected offspring (9 transmitted of 33; P = 0.007), independent of the presence or absence of an SE either in the same haplotype or in the other haplotype in the progenitor.
Conclusion: These data suggest that the MICA 6.0 allele is an independent marker of protection against RA in the SE+ group of RA patients.