British journal of rheumatology. vol:34 issue:3 pages:207-14
The association of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) with HLA-DRB1 alleles indicates that at least one RA susceptibility gene is linked to the HLA class II region. Transporter associated with protein processing (TAP) genes, which lie upstream of the HLA-structural genes, may also contribute to disease susceptibility. We investigated polymorphisms of the peptide transporter genes, TAP 1 and TAP 2, by PCR-ASO hybridization techniques in 82 RA patients and 66 control individuals. Although there was a suggestion of linkage between some TAP polymorphisms and RA, these seem to be dependent on HLA-DRB1*04, since these positive associations disappeared when HLA-DRB1*04 positive RA patients and controls were compared. Furthermore, no particular TAP allele or haplotype was associated with any clinical or immunological subgroup of RA. We conclude that the TAP genes do not have a major influence on susceptibility to RA in the European Caucasian population.