Aim: To identify novel genetic variants predisposing to elevation of Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients after initiation of methotrexate (MTX) treatment. Patients & methods: We performed genome-wide association studies in 198 RA patients starting MTX. Outcomes were maximum level of ALT and ALT >1.5-times the upper level of normal within the first 6 months of treatment. Results:RAVER2 (rs72675408) was significantly associated with maximum level of ALT (p = 4.36 × 10-8). This variant is in linkage disequilibrium with rs72675451, which is associated with differential expression of JAK1 and RAVER2. Conclusion: We found an association between ALT elevation and genetic variants that may regulate the expression of JAK1 and RAVER2. JAK1 encodes a janus kinase involved in the pathogenesis of RA.
Keywords: cohort study; genome-wide association studies; hepatotoxicity; methotrexate; rheumatoid arthritis; risk 13 factors.