Ann Rheum Dis 58:164-168 doi:10.1136/ard.58.3.164
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Association of polymorphism in glutathione S-transferase loci with susceptibility and outcome in rheumatoid arthritis: comparison with the shared epitope


OBJECTIVE To determine whether glutathione S-transferase GSTM1, GSTM3, GSTT1, and GSTP1 genotypes influence susceptibility or outcome in rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

METHODS 277 RA patients were compared with 577 controls to examine any associations between GST genotypes and susceptibility to RA. The effect of genotypes on outcome (Larsen and functional scores) and time integrated acute phase responses (erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C reactive protein) was assessed in 122 patients with disease duration of 5–10 years. GST and HLA-DRB1 genotypes were determined using polymerase chain reaction based assays. Data were analysed using multiple regression analysis with correction for age, sex, disease duration, and the DRB1 associated shared epitope (SE) and rheumatoid factor (RF) positivity where appropriate.

RESULTS TheGSTM1*A/*B genotype was less common in RA cases (3 of 276) than in controls (22 of 591) (exact p=0.047), though significance was lost when adjustment was made for multiple comparisons. The Larsen score was higher (p=0.039) in the GSTM1 null patients (89.9) than those with other GSTM1 genotypes (74.7), and this was independent of the SE. Again, correction for multiple testing resulted in loss of significance. The difference in Larsen scores between patients homozygous or negative for the SE (87.9v 74.3) was similar to that between GSTM1 null and non-null patients. No associations between GSTM3 or GSTT1 genotypes and disease markers were identified although the association between GSTP1*B/*B and Larsen score approached significance (p=0.096).

CONCLUSION It is proposed that certain GSTs may influence susceptibility and radiological progression in RA and that this is independent of the effect of the HLA-DRB1 associated SE. The mechanism for this effect is presumed to be because of differences in the ability of various GST enzymes to utilise the cytotoxic products of oxidant stress. Although significance was lost after correction for multiple testing, the data indicate that further studies may be of value in RA to determine the influence of the GST and other genes involved in cellular protection against oxidative stress.