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Semin Arthritis Rheum. 1993 Feb;22(4):265-74.

Autoantibody studies in juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, St Louis University School of Medicine, MO 63104.


Early studies showed few immunologic abnormalities in juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) patients. There were no specific laboratory markers useful for diagnosis and assessment of the course of disease in JRA. Previous work showed an association of antinuclear antibodies (ANA) with early-onset pauciarticular disease and iridocyclitis. Similarly, the presence of 19S immunoglobulin (Ig) M rheumatoid factors (RF) was associated with late-onset polyarticular disease in girls. More recent studies have detected many unique autoantibodies. Newer assays show 19S IgM RF in up to 35% of JRA patients, although still mainly in girls with late-onset polyarticular disease. Hidden 19S IgM RF can be shown in up to 75% of JRA patients using different procedures, primarily in those with active polyarticular-or pauciarticular-onset disease. Immune complexes have been detected in JRA patients by means of different techniques; their presence usually correlates with active disease. Studies on a specific ANA in JRA have shown no common extractable nuclear antigen, but antihistone antibodies have been found in up to 75% of cases, again mainly in those with pauciarticular onset and iritis. Finally, a variety of unusual immunologic proteins have also been detected, including anti-ocular, anti-cellular, anti-cardiolipin, anti-perinuclear factor, and anti-collagen antibodies. This review evaluates the significance of these antibodies that can now be found in JRA.

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