Association between TNF-α promoter –308 A/G polymorphism and rheumatoid arthritis: a meta-analysis
OBJECTIVE To study tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha) -308 gene promoter polymorphism and circulating levels of TNFalpha and soluble TNF receptor type I (sTNFRI) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients with and without reactive amyloidosis. METHODS In a retrospective study, we examined 55 RA patients with biopsy-proven reactive amyloidosis and 55 control RA patients without amyloidosis (matched for age, sex, rheumatoid factor titer, and RA duration). Inflammatory activity was assessed by measuring the erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein level. TNFalpha gene promoter polymorphism was studied using polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism assay. Cytokine and receptor levels were measured by enzyme-linked immunoassays. RESULTS Patients with RA and amyloidosis had significantly higher TNFalpha and sTNFRI levels than did the control RA patients. The increased circulating levels of TNFalpha correlated with interleukin-18 levels, but not with the serum amyloid A protein levels or with TNFalpha -308 gene promoter polymorphism (reported to be associated with high TNFalpha levels and certain disease susceptibilities). In the patients with RA and amyloidosis, those with anemia had significantly higher TNFalpha and sTNFRI levels than did those without anemia, and circulating TNFalpha and sTNFRI levels correlated negatively with hemoglobin concentrations. In the patients with RA and amyloidosis, those with nephropathy had significantly higher TNFalpha and sTNFRI levels than did those without nephropathy; in patients with isolated proteinuria (but no creatinine elevation) the TNFalpha level was also significantly increased, indicating that the TNFalpha elevation was not merely a consequence of impaired renal function. CONCLUSION This study shows that circulating levels of TNFalpha and sTNFRI are significantly increased in RA patients with amyloidosis as compared with control RA patients without amyloidosis and that the increased levels may be implicated in the pathogenesis of certain disease manifestations, including anemia of chronic disease and renal pathology in reactive amyloidosis.