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Analysis of Fcγ receptor haplotypes in rheumatoid arthritis: FCGR3A remains a major susceptibility gene at this locus, with an additional contribution from FCGR3B

Ann W Morgan12*, Jennifer H Barrett1, Bridget Griffiths25, Deepak Subramanian1, Jim I Robinson1, Viki H Keyte1, Manir Ali1, Elizabeth A Jones3, Robert W Old3, Frederique Ponchel1, Arthur W Boylston1, R Deva Situnayake4, Alexander F Markham1, Paul Emery2 and John D Isaacs25

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Molecular Medicine, Epidemiology and Cancer Research, University of Leeds, St James's University Hospital, Beckett Street, Leeds, LS9 7TF, UK

2 Academic Unit of Musculoskeletal Disease, University of Leeds, Chapel Allerton Hospital, Chapeltown Road, Leeds, LS7 4SA, UK

3 Department of Biological Sciences, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL, UK

4 City Hospital, Birmingham, Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals, NHS Trust, City Hospital Site, Dudley Road, Birmingham, B18 7QH, UK

5 School of Clinical Medical Sciences (Musculoskeletal Research Group) University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, Framligton Place, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, NE2 4HH, UK

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2006, 8:R5  doi:10.1186/ar1847

Published: 10 November 2005


The Fcγ receptors play important roles in the initiation and regulation of many immunological and inflammatory processes, and genetic variants (FCGR) have been associated with numerous autoimmune and infectious diseases. The data in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are conflicting and we previously demonstrated an association between FCGR3A and RA. In view of the close molecular proximity with FCGR2A, FCGR2B and FCGR3B, additional polymorphisms within these genes and FCGR haplotypes were examined to refine the extent of association with RA. Biallelic polymorphisms in FCGR2A, FCGR2B and FCGR3B were examined for association with RA in two well characterized UK Caucasian and North Indian/Pakistani cohorts, in which FCGR3A genotyping had previously been undertaken. Haplotype frequencies and linkage disequilibrium were estimated across the FCGR locus and a model-free analysis was performed to determine association with RA. This was followed by regression analysis, allowing for phase uncertainty, to identify the particular haplotype(s) that influences disease risk. Our results reveal that FCGR2A, FCGR2B and FCGR3B were not associated with RA. The haplotype with the strongest association with RA susceptibility was the FCGR3A–FCGR3B 158V-NA2 haplotype (odds ratio 3.18, 95% confidence interval 1.13–8.92 [P = 0.03] for homozygotes compared with all genotypes). The association was stronger in the presence of nodules (odds ratio 5.03, 95% confidence interval 1.44–17.56; P = 0.01). This haplotype was also more common in North Indian/Pakistani RA patients than in control individuals, but not significantly so. Logistic regression analyses suggested that FCGR3A remained the most significant gene at this locus. The increased association with an FCGR3A–FCGR3B haplotype suggests that other polymorphic variants within FCGR3A or FCGR3B, or in linkage disequilibrium with this haplotype, may additionally contribute to disease pathogenesis.