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Mol Med Today. 1998 Dec;4(12):540-9.

The role of HLA-B27 polymorphism and molecular mimicry in spondylarthropathy.

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Immunology Dept, Hospital Central Asturias, Oviedo, Spain.


Ankylosing spondylitis (AS), reactive arthritis (ReA) and other related spondyloarthropathies (SpAs) are characterized by a strong association with the major histocompatibility complex allele HLA-B27. Experimental evidence from humans and transgenic rodents suggests that HLA-B27 is itself involved in the pathogenesis of SpA. Population and peptide-specificity analysis of HLA-B27 suggest it has a pathogenic function related to antigen presentation. Putative roles for infectious agents have been proposed in ReA and suggested in AS. However, the mechanism by which HLA-B27 and bacteria interact to induce arthritis is not clear. Molecular mimicry between bacterial epitopes that cross-react with self-B27 peptides is the most persuasive explanation for the pathogenesis of SpA. The experimental studies reviewed here have greatly increased our knowledge of the structure, function and disease association of HLA-B27.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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