Seven new risk variants associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are reported in two studies published online this week in Nature Genetics. Together the studies identify genetic risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis in European and Japanese populations.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that is characterized by inflammation of the joints. Approximately one-percent of adults worldwide are affected with this disease, which can lead to destruction of the joints.
Eli Stahl, Robert Plenge and colleagues analyzed the genomes of 12,307 people of European ancestry with rheumatoid arthritis and identified seven genetic variants associated with increased risk of RA. Yuta Kochi and colleagues performed an analysis of 7,039 Japanese individuals with RA and identified an RA risk variant near the CCR6 gene, which was also associated to RA risk in the study of Europeans.