Supervised machine learning and logistic regression identifies novel epistatic risk factors with PTPN22 for rheumatoid arthritis

F. B.S. Briggs, P. P. Ramsay, E. Madden, J. M. Norris, V. M. Holers, T. R. Mikuls, T. Sokka, M. F. Seldin, P. K. Gregersen, L. A. Criswell, L. F. Barcellos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Investigating genetic interactions (epistasis) has proven difficult despite the recent advances of both laboratory methods and statistical developments. With no best statistical approach available, combining several analytical methods may be optimal for detecting epistatic interactions. Using a multi-stage analysis that incorporated supervised machine learning and methods of association testing, we investigated epistatic interactions with a well-established genetic factor (PTPN22 1858T) in a complex autoimmune disease (rheumatoid arthritis (RA)). Our analysis consisted of four principal stages: Stage I (data reduction)identifying candidate chromosomal regions in 292 affected sibling pairs, by predicting PTPN22 concordance using multipoint identity-by-descent probabilities and a supervised machine learning algorithm (Random Forests); Stage II (extension analysis)testing detailed genetic data within candidate chromosomal regions for epistasis with PTPN22 1858T in 677 cases and 750 controls using logistic regression; Stage III (replication analysis)confirmation of epistatic interactions in 947 cases and 1756 controls; Stage IV (combined analysis)a pooled analysis including all 1624 RA cases and 2506 control subjects for final estimates of effect size. A total of seven replicating epistatic interactions were identified. SNP variants within CDH13, MYO3A, CEP72 and near WFDC1 showed significant evidence for interaction with PTPN22, affecting susceptibility to RA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-208
Number of pages10
JournalGenes and Immunity
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2010


  • Epistasis
  • PTPN22
  • Random Forests
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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