Previous testing of patients with rheumatoid arthritis showed that one HLA-D type, Dw4, occurred more frequently than in normal controls. B-cell alloantigens closely related to HLA-D can now be identified by a simple serologic procedure. Using this test, I studied 80 white patients with erosive, rheumatoid-factor-positive rheumatoid arthritis. The B-cell alloantigen HLA-DRw4 occurred in 70 per cent of 54 patients, as compared to 28 per cent of the 68 normal controls (P<10–5). Both groups were also tested for the HLA-A, B and C antigens and for HLA-D. HLA-Dw4 occurred in 54 per cent of the patients and 16 per cent of the controls (P<10–5). Small differences observed in several of the HLA-A and B antigens were not statistically significant. The results indicate that rheumatoid arthritis in whites is associated with genes of the HLA-D region and that immunogenetic factors linked to HLA have a role in its pathogenesis. (N Engl J Med 298:869–871, 1978) RHEUMATOID arthritis was recently found to be associated with an antigen of the HLA-D locus.12 Unlike the situation in other conditions in which associations with HLA exist, the results of serologic tests for the HLA-A and HLA-B antigens in rheumatoid arthritis have not shown consistent differences from those in normal controls.3 4 5 6 7 HLA-Dw4, the antigen that was observed to be increased in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, was detected by mixed lymphocyte culture.2 It is now possible to test for B-cell alloantigens that are related to HLA-D and are detected serologically with isolated B lymphocytes or monocytes.8 These antigens have been given.
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