We investigated the Nco I restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) of the tumor necrosis factor beta (TNFB) gene in 173 patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), 192 unrelated healthy controls, and eleven panel families, all of German origin. The phenotype frequency of the TNFB*1 allele was significantly increased in patients compared to controls (63.6% vs 47.1%, RR = 1.96, p <0.002). The results of a two-point haplotype statistical analysis between TNFB and HLA alleles show that there is linkage disequilibrium between TNFB*1 and HLA-A1, Cw7, B8, DR3, DQ2, and C4A DE. The frequency of TNFB*1 was compared in SLE patients and controls in the presence or absence of each of these alleles. TNFB*1 is increased in patients over controls only in the presence of the mentioned alleles. Therefore, the whole haplotype A1, Cw7, B8, TNFB*1, C4A DE, DR3, DQ2 is increased in patients and it cannot be determined which of the genes carried by this haplotype is responsible for the susceptibility to SLE. In addition, two-locus associations were analyzed in 192 unrelated healthy controls for TNFB and class I alleles typed by serology, and for TNFB and class II alleles typed by polymerase chain reaction/oligonucleotide probes. We found positive linkage disequilibrium between TNFB*1 and the following alleles: HLA-A24, HLA-B8, DRB1*0301, DRB1*1104, DRB1*1302, DQA1*0501, DQB1*0201, DQB1*0604, and DPB1*0101. TNFB*2 is associated with HLA-B7, DRB1*1501, and DQB1*0602.
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