Twin concordance rates for rheumatoid arthritis: results from a nationwide study

Br J Rheumatol. 1993 Oct;32(10):903-7. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/32.10.903.


We report the concordance rate for RA in a nationwide study of 91 monozygotic (MZ) and 112 dizygotic (DZ) pairs. Twin pairs were recruited from both a national media campaign and a 2-month prospective inquiry of all UK rheumatologists. Disease status was established following a structured clinical and serological appraisal, together with radiological assessment where necessary. Zygosity was confirmed using DNA fingerprinting. In all, 14 (15.4%) of the MZ and four (3.6%) of the DZ pairs were disease concordant (risk ratio: 4.3 95% CI 1.5 to 12.6). There was no difference in the concordance between the media and clinical derived twins. Further the excess MZ concordance persisted after adjusting for age, age at disease onset, sex and rheumatoid factor status. Analysing the data in relation to the timing of disease onset in the first affected twin showed that subsequent disease risk in the initially unaffected co-twins of the MZ affected probands increased with increasing duration of follow-up. We conclude that the overall MZ concordance at 15% is lower than the 30% figure normally quoted from a study some 30 years ago and sets a ceiling at the potential genetic contribution to disease susceptibility.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / epidemiology
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / genetics*
  • Diseases in Twins / epidemiology
  • Diseases in Twins / genetics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Twins, Dizygotic
  • Twins, Monozygotic