Objectives: To investigate polymorphisms in the genes for tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNFA), interleukin 10 (IL10) and tumour necrosis factor receptor II (TNFRII) in patients with psoriatic arthritis (PsA) and their relationship to the HLA-Cw*0602 allele and to the ages at onset of psoriasis and arthritis and the pattern of joint involvement.
Methods: One hundred and twenty-four well-characterized patients with PsA were studied. Controls were 101 cadaveric organ donors. All were genotyped for single-nucleotide polymorphisms in TNFA (positions -308, -238, +488), IL10 (-1082, -819, -592) and in the 3'-untranslated region of TNFRII (+1663, +1668, +1690). The HLA-Cw*0602 allele was detected by polymerase chain reaction-based techniques. The frequencies of the respective variants were compared between patients and controls and in relation to the ages at onset of psoriasis and arthritis, to clinical subsets of the disease and to the presence of erosions.
Results: HLA-Cw*0602 was significantly increased in frequency in PsA (40 vs 26%; P<0.05) and was associated with younger age of onset of psoriasis (P<0.05). There was no significant increase in any of the polymorphisms studied within TNFA, IL10 or TNFRII in the total PsA group. Although the frequency of TNFA allele -238A was not increased in the total PsA group or in patients with a younger age of onset of psoriasis, TNFA allele -238A was absent in the spondyloarthritis group and increased in frequency in patients with peripheral polyarthritis. However, these latter findings could be explained by linkage disequilibrium as all TNFA -238A alleles (23/23) in patients with PsA were HLA-Cw*0602-positive (P<0.0001).
Conclusions: An association between young age of onset of psoriasis and HLA-Cw*0602 is confirmed in patients with PsA. The uncommon TNFA -238A allele is strongly linked to HLA-Cw*0602 and as such is associated with the development of peripheral polyarthritis rather than spondylitis. Further investigation of possible HLA-Cw*0602 linked genes in PsA is warranted.