Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) typing was performed in 174 patients with rheumatoid arthritis and 222 white control subjects. Increases in HLA-DR4 and HLA-DR1 were observed as in previous studies. Each of these appeared to be inherited as dominant risk factors. Southern blotting with a DR-beta probe after digestion of genomic DNA with the restriction enzyme Bam HI showed seven bands. Three of them correlated with DR4 and were increased in rheumatoid arthritis patients. Subsets of DR4 were determined by polymerase chain reaction amplification followed by hybridization with oligonucleotide probes. Dw4 was increased in rheumatoid arthritis patients, and the frequency of the other subsets appeared to be similar in rheumatoid arthritis patients and control subjects. A polymorphism associated with the T cell receptor V-beta-8 gene family was significantly increased in rheumatoid arthritis patients.
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