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Susceptibility variants for rheumatoid arthritis in the TRAF1-C5 and 6q23 loci: a meta-analysis
  1. Nikolaos A Patsopoulos1,
  2. John P A Ioannidis1,2,3
  1. 1Clinical and Molecular Epidemiology Unit, Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, University of Ioannina School of Medicine, Ioannina, Greece
  2. 2Biomedical Research Institute, Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas, Ioannina, Greece
  3. 3Tufts Clinical and Translational Science Institute and Center for Genetic Epidemiology and Modeling, Tufts Medical Center, Department of Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Masachusetts, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr John P A Ioannidis, Clinical and Molecular Epidemiology Unit, Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, University of Ioannina School of Medicine, Ioannina 45110, Greece; jioannid{at}


Background Genome-wide association studies have proposed susceptibility variants for rheumatoid arthritis in the TRAF1-C5 locus and 6q23 region. Furthermore, additional independent studies have investigated the same or highly linked polymorphisms in the same regions.

Objective To carry out a meta-analysis of the available evidence for the association of polymorphisms in the TRAF1-C5 locus and 6q23 region with rheumatoid arthritis.

Methods Data were synthesised for four polymorphisms: rs3761847 (n=13 datasets) and rs2900180 (n=9 datasets) in the TRAF1-C5 locus, and rs10499194 (n=5 datasets) and rs6920220 (n=7 datasets) in the 6q23 region. Meta-analyses for subgroups defined by anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP) and rheumatoid factor (RF) status were also performed.

Results The polymorphism rs6920220 reached genome-wide statistical significance with p=7.9×10−17 and an allelic odds ratio of 1.24 (95% CI 1.18 to 1.30) and no between-study heterogeneity (I2=0%). The risk was significantly stronger in patients with anti-CCP antibodies and in patients with RF. The other three variants showed large between-study heterogeneity across datasets (I2 range 74–82%); rs10499194 was nominally statistically significant after exclusion of the discovery data. Two variants had genome-wide statistical significance in subgroups defined by the presence of RF (rs3761847 and rs6920220) or anti-CCP (rs6920220).

Conclusions Genetic markers in the 6q23 region and TRAF1-C5 are associated with rheumatoid arthritis, in particular with positive anti-CCP and RF profile. With the exception of rs6920220, which shows highly consistent results, other proposed markers have high between-study heterogeneity that may reflect unrecognised phenotypic or genetic variability (eg, gene environment interactions) within rheumatoid arthritis. Furthermore, these markers may not be the true causative loci but rather be in linkage disequilibrium with the true ones.

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  • Funding NAP was supported by a PENED grant from the European Union-European Social Fund and the Greek Ministry of Development-General Secretariat for Research and Technology.

  • Competing interest None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.