The objective of this study was to study genetic factors that influence quantitative anticyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP) antibody levels in RA patients. We carried out a genome-wide association study (GWAS) meta-analysis using 1975 anti-CCP + RA patients from three large cohorts, the Brigham Rheumatoid Arthritis Sequential Study (BRASS), North American Rheumatoid Arthritis Consortium (NARAC) and the Epidemiological Investigation of RA (EIRA). We also carried out a genome-wide complex trait analysis (GCTA) to estimate the heritability of anti-CCP levels. GWAS-meta-analysis showed that anti-CCP levels were most strongly associated with the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) region with a P-value of 2 x 10(-11) for rs1980493. There were 112 SNPs in this region that exceeded the genome-wide significance threshold of 5 x 10(-8), and all were in linkage disequilibrium (LD) with the HLA-DRB1*03 allele with LD r(2) in the range of 0.25-0.88. Suggestive novel associations outside of the HLA region were also observed for rs8063248 (near the GP2 gene) with a P-value of 3 x 10(-7). None of the known RA risk alleles (similar to 52 loci) were associated with anti-CCP level. Heritability analysis estimated that 44% of anti-CCP variation was attributable to genetic factors captured by GWAS variants. In summary, anti-CCP level is a heritable trait, and HLA-DR3 and GP2 are associated with lower anti-CCP levels.
School of Medicine
General Internal Medicine