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Recently, Knevel et al 1 reported that interleukin 15 (IL-15) genetic variants are associated with progression of joint destruction in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) enrolled in a European multicohort study. IL-15 is a proinflammatory cytokine that is overexpressed in patients with RA. Overproduction of IL-15 is thought to induce T cell activation and proliferation, possibly contributing to the pathogenesis of RA.2 ,3 Some variants of genetic predisposition factors for RA are restricted to particular ethnic groups, revealing the presence of genetic heterogeneity.4 ,5 We investigated the associations between IL-15 genetic variants and progression of joint destruction in Japanese patients with RA.
We studied 865 patients with RA for whom Sharp/van der Heijde (SHS) scores of the hands were available at a disease duration of 5 years. DNA samples of the subjects were obtained from the Institute of Rheumatology Rheumatoid Arthritis (IORRA) cohort study DNA collection.6 All of the patients …