Objective: Two recent studies, in a Spanish and a Chinese population, point to an association between rheumatoid arthritis (RA) risk and the deletion of the Late Cornified Envelope (LCE) 3B and 3C genes (LCE3C_LCE3B-del), a known risk factor for psoriasis. We aimed to replicate these studies in a large Dutch cohort.
Methods: 1039 RA cases and 759 controls were genotyped for LCE3C_LCE3B-del. Association analysis was performed for the complete cohort and after stratification for the serologic markers anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide and rheumatoid factor. A meta-analysis was performed combining our data with the Spanish and Chinese datasets, resulting in an analysis including 2466 RA cases and 2438 controls.
Results: In the Dutch cohort we did not observe a significant association of LCE3C_LCE3B-del (p = 0.093) with RA risk. A stratified analysis for the serologic positive and negative group did not show an association between the genetic variant and disease risk, either. The meta-analysis, however, confirmed a significant association (p<0.0001, OR = 1.31, 95% confidence interval 1.16-1.47).
Conclusion: Our meta-analysis confirms the association of the LCE3 deletion with RA, suggesting that LCE3C_LCE3B-del is a common risk factor for (auto)immune diseases.