Risk for rheumatic disease in relation to ethnicity and admixture.

Molokhia M, McKeigue P.

Epidemiology Unit, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK. mariam.molokhia@lshtm.ac.uk

Risk of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is high in west Africans compared with Europeans, and risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is high in Native Americans compared with Europeans. These differences are not accounted for by differences in allele or haplotype frequencies in the human leucocyte antigen (HLA) region or any other loci known to influence risk of rheumatic disease. Where there has been admixture between two or more ethnic groups that differ in risk of disease, studies of the relationship of disease risk to proportionate admixture can help to distinguish between genetic and environmental explanations for ethnic differences in disease risk and to map the genes underlying these differences.