Mannose-binding lectin variant alleles and HLA-DR4 alleles are associated with giant cell arteritis.
Jacobsen S., Baslund B., Madsen HO., Tvede N., Svejgaard A., Garred P.
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether variant alleles of the mannose-binding lectin (MBL) gene causing low serum concentrations of MBL and/or polymorphisms of HLA-DRB1 are associated with increased susceptibility to polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) and giant cell arteritis (GCA) or particular clinical phenotypes of PMR/GCA. METHODS: MBL and HLA-DRB1 alleles were determined by polymerase chain reaction in 102 Danish patients with PMR (n = 37) or GCA (n = 65). Two hundred fifty and 193 healthy individuals served as controls for MBL and HLA genotyping, respectively. RESULTS: The prevalence of MBL variant alleles in controls, patients with PMR only, and patients with GCA was 37, 32, and 53% (p = 0.01), respectively. HLA-DRB1*04 was found in 47% of patients with PMR only and in 54% of patients with GCA, which differed significantly from the 35% found in controls (p = 0.01). HLA-DR4 alleles were not associated with any clinical phenotypes of PMR/GCA, whereas MBL variant alleles were associated with cranial arteritis, high erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and low B-hemoglobin. CONCLUSION: We found MBL variant alleles and HLA-DR4 alleles to be weak susceptibility markers for GCA. In patients with PMR/GCA, MBL variant alleles were associated with signs of increased inflammatory activity and clinical signs of arteritic manifestations. This was not found for HLA-DR4 alleles. These findings indicate that HLA-DR4 and MBL are contributing to the pathophysiology of GCA at different levels in the disease process.