Objective: Recent studies have identified a number of novel rheumatoid arthritis (RA) susceptibility loci in Caucasian populations. The aim of this study was to determine whether the genetic variants at 4q27, 6q23, CCL21, TRAF1/C5, and CD40 identified in Caucasians are also associated with RA in a Korean case-control collection. We also comprehensively evaluated the genetic variation within PTPN22, a well-established autoimmune disease-associated gene.
Methods: We designed an experiment to thoroughly evaluate the PTPN22 linkage disequilibrium region, using tag single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and disease-associated SNPs at 5 RA-associated loci recently identified in Caucasians, in 1,128 Korean patients with RA and 1,022 ethnically matched control subjects. We also resequenced the PTPN22 gene to seek novel coding variants that might be contributing to disease in this population.
Results: None of the susceptibility loci identified in Caucasian patients with RA contributed significantly to disease in Koreans. Although tag SNPs covering the PTPN22 linkage disequilibrium block were polymorphic, they did not reveal any disease association, and resequencing did not identify any new common coding region variants in this population. The 6q23 and 4q27 SNPs assayed were nonpolymorphic in this population, and the TRAF1/C5, CD40, and CCL21 SNPs did not show any evidence for association with RA in this population of Korean patients.
Conclusion: The genetic risk factors for RA are different in Caucasian and Korean patients. Although patients of different ethnic groups share the HLA region as a major genetic risk locus, most other genes shown to be significantly associated with disease in Caucasians appear not to play a role in Korean patients with RA.