Association of rheumatoid arthritis susceptibility gene with lipid profiles in patients with rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatology (Oxford). 2014 Jun;53(6):1014-21. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/ket472.


Objective: RA patients have an increased risk of cardiovascular (CV) disease, although the mechanisms are unclear. As RA and CV disease may be associated through lipid profiles, we examined whether single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with RA susceptibility were associated with low-density lipoprotein (LDL), high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and triglyceride (TG) levels in RA subjects.

Methods: Patients (n = 763) enrolled in the Veterans Affairs RA registry who were not on hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA reductase inhibitor were genotyped for human leukocyte antigen shared epitope (HLA-DRB1-SE) and SNPs in the following genes: CTLA-4 (cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4), IL-10, PTPN22 (protein tyrosine phosphatase, non-receptor type 22), REL (c-Rel), STAT4 (signal transducer and activator of transcription protein), TNF- and TRAF1 (TNF receptor-associated factor 1). Other covariates included patient characteristics (age, gender, race, smoking status, education, BMI, modified CharlsonDeyo comorbidity index), CV characteristics (hypertension, diabetes, alcohol abuse), pharmacologic exposures (MTX, anti-TNF, glucocorticoids) and RA severity/activity markers (RA disease duration, mean DAS, CRP, RF positivity, anti-CCP positivity). Multivariate linear regression was performed to determine the factors associated with LDL, HDL and TG levels.

Results: The REL SNP rs9309331 homozygous minor allele was associated with higher LDL levels. Caucasian race and increasing BMI were associated with lower HDL. Factors associated with higher TG were diabetes, Caucasian race and higher BMI.

Conclusion: The REL SNP rs9309331 was associated with LDL levels in our study. This association is a possible explanation of the increased risk of RA patients for CV disease and requires further inquiry.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / blood*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / complications
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / genetics*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dyslipidemias / blood
  • Dyslipidemias / etiology
  • Dyslipidemias / genetics
  • Female
  • Genes, rel
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Lipoproteins, HDL / blood
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Registries
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Biomarkers
  • Lipids
  • Lipoproteins, HDL
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • Triglycerides