What is the role of the immune system in the pathogenesis of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA)?

Updated: Jul 25, 2019
  • Author: David D Sherry, MD; Chief Editor: Lawrence K Jung, MD  more...
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Humoral and cell-mediated immunity are involved in the pathogenesis of JIA. T lymphocytes have a central role, releasing proinflammatory cytokines (eg, tumor necrosis factor–alpha [TNF-α], interleukin [IL]-6, IL-1) and favoring a type-1 helper T-lymphocyte response. A disordered interaction between type 1 and type 2 T-helper cells has been postulated.

Studies of T-cell receptor expression confirm recruitment of T-lymphocytes specific for synovial nonself antigens. Evidence for abnormalities in the humoral immune system include the increased presence of autoantibodies (especially antinuclear antibodies), increased serum immunoglobulins, the presence of circulating immune complexes, and complement activation.

Chronic inflammation of synovium is characterized by B-lymphocyte infiltration and expansion. Macrophages and T-cell invasion are associated with the release of cytokines, which evoke synoviocyte proliferation. A study by Scola et al found synovium to contain messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) for vascular endothelial growth factor and angiopoietin 1, as well as for their receptors, suggesting that induction of angiogenesis by products of lymphocytic infiltration may be involved in persistence of disease. [10]

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