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||Linkage analysis of anti-CCP levels as dichotomized and quantitative traits using GAW15 single-nucleotide polymorphism scan of NARAC families.
||Yang XR, Kerstann KF, Bergen AW, Goldstein AM, Goldin LR
||Rheumatoid arthritis is a clinically and genetically heterogeneous disease. Anti-cyclic citrullinated (anti-CCP) antibodies have a high specificity for rheumatoid arthritis and levels correlate with disease severity. The focus of this study was to examine whether analyzing anti-CCP levels could increase the power of linkage analysis by identifying a more homogeneous subset of rheumatoid arthritis patients. We also wanted to compare linkage signals when analyzing anti-CCP levels as dichotomized (CCP_binary), categorical (CCP_cat), and continuous traits, with and without transformation (log_CCP and CCP_cont). Illumina single-nucleotide polymorphism scans of the North American Rheumatoid Arthritis Consortium families were analyzed for four chromosomes (6, 7, 11, 22) using nonparametric linkage (NPL) (rheumatoid arthritis and CCP_binary), regress (CCP_cat and Log_CCP), and deviates (CCP_cont) analysis options as implemented in Merlin. Similar linkage results were obtained from analyses of rheumatoid arthritis, CCP_binary, and CCP_cont. The only exception was that we observed improved linkage signals and a narrower region for CCP_binary as compared to a clinical diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis alone on chromosome 7, a region which previously showed variation in linkage results with rheumatoid arthritis according to anti-CCP levels. Analyses of CCP_cat and Log_CCP had little power to detect linkage. Our data suggested that linkage analyses of anti-CCP levels may facilitate identification of rheumatoid arthritis genes but quantitative analyses did not further improve power. Our study also highlighted that quantitative trait linkage results are highly sensitive to phenotype transformation and analytic approaches.