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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2003 Sep;60(9):1903-22.

Immunology and functional genomics of Behçet's disease.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, University of Tuebingen, Schleichstrasse 12, 72076 Tuebingen, Germany.


Behçet's disease (BD) is a multisystemic inflammatory disorder. Although the cause and pathogenesis of BD are still unclear, there is evidence for genetic, immunologic and infectious factors at the onset or in the course of BD. This review focuses on the functional genomics and immunology of BD. HLA-B51 is the major disease susceptibility gene locus in BD. An increased number of gammadelta T cells in the peripheral blood and in the involved tissues have been reported. However, the T cells at the sites of inflammation appear to be a phenotypically distinct subset. There is also a significant gammadelta T cell proliferative response to mycobacterial 65-kDa heat shock protein peptides. Homologous peptides derived from the human 60-kDa heat shock protein were observed in BD patients. There is evidence that natural killer T cells may also play a role in BD.

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