Genetics of rheumatoid arthritis: is there a scientific explanation for the human leukocyte antigen association?

Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2002 May;14(3):254-9. doi: 10.1097/00002281-200205000-00011.


Human leukocyte antigen genes associated with rheumatoid arthritis are commonly found in the unaffected population, implying that causal mechanisms of disease involve interactions between these genes and other factors. A variety of approaches-genetic, structural, and immunologic-are used to explore possible molecular interactions that may contribute to understanding the basis for this disease association. The specific relation between human leukocyte antigen-DR4 alleles and rheumatoid arthritis remains one of the strongest and most thoroughly studied examples of human leukocyte antigen risk genes among human autoimmune disorders.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / genetics*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology*
  • HLA Antigens / genetics*
  • HLA-DR4 Antigen / genetics
  • Humans


  • HLA Antigens
  • HLA-DR4 Antigen