Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) is characterized with a variable pattern of articular involvement and systemic symptoms and, thus, it has been classified in several subtypes. Genetic predisposition to JIA is mainly due to HLA class II molecules (HLA-DRB1, HLA-DPB1), although HLA class I molecules and non-HLA genes have been implicated, too. Here, we carried out a meta-analysis including selected studies designed to assess HLA genetic background of JIA patients, compared to healthy controls; particularly, we focused our attention on HLA-DRB1. In summary, our meta-analysis showed four main findings regarding HLA-DRB1 locus as a genetic factor of JIA: i) HLA-DRB1*08 is a strong factor predisposing to JIA, both for oligo-articular and poly-articular forms (oJIA > pJIA); ii) HLA-DRB1*01 and HLA-DRB1*04 may be involved in the genetic predisposition of Rheumatoid Factor (RF) positive forms of JIA; iii) HLA-DRB1*11 was confirmed to be predisposing to oligo-articular JIA; iv) HLA-DRB1*04 was confirmed to have a role in systemic JIA. Importantly, RF positivity seems to select the JIA clinical subset with the strongest immunogenetic similarities with adult rheumatoid arthritis.
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