Specific interaction between genotype, smoking and autoimmunity to citrullinated alpha-enolase in the etiology of rheumatoid arthritis.
Mahdi H., Fisher BA., Källberg H., Plant D., Malmström V., Rönnelid J., Charles P., Ding B., Alfredsson L., Padyukov L., Symmons DP., Venables PJ., Klareskog L., Lundberg K.
Gene-environment associations are important in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) susceptibility, with an association existing between smoking, HLA- DRB1 'shared epitope' alleles, PTPN22 and antibodies to cyclic citrullinated peptides (CCP). Here, we test the hypothesis that a subset of the anti-CCP response, with specific autoimmunity to citrullinated alpha-enolase, accounts for an important portion of these associations. In 1,497 individuals from three RA cohorts, antibodies to the immunodominant citrullinated alpha-enolase CEP-1 epitope were detected in 43-63% of the anti-CCP-positive individuals, and this subset was preferentially linked to HLA-DRB1*04. In a case-control analysis of 1,000 affected individuals and 872 controls, the combined effect of shared epitope, PTPN22 and smoking showed the strongest association with the anti-CEP-1-positive subset (odds ratio (OR) of 37, compared to an OR of 2 for the corresponding anti-CEP-1-negative, anti-CCP-positive subset). We conclude that citrullinated alpha-enolase is a specific citrullinated autoantigen that links smoking to genetic risk factors in the development of RA.