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Gene expression findings a step toward better classification and treatment of juvenile arthritis
Date:6/29/2009

nes). Using gene expression technology a method by which scientists can determine the relative levels of expression of thousands of different genes at the same time and compare a pattern from one subject with another the researchers looked for differences in the children's blood samples that corresponded with the different forms of JIA.

"We analyzed gene expression patterns in blood cells and found that we could indeed distinguish the major subtypes of JIA," says Dr. Colbert, who was a leader of this research program at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center before coming to NIAMS. "Many of the genes whose expression is altered function in the immune system. This means that not only is there immune activation, but it differs depending on the subtype of JIA that is present."

In the second study, led by Thomas Griffin, M.D., Ph.D., also at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, scientists looked more closely at patients from the study with one particular subtype of the disease polyarticular JIA to determine if that form was more complicated, or if there were more subgroups than originally thought. They included children with rheumatoid factor (RF) positive JIA, meaning their blood tested positive for an antibody commonly seen in adults with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Surprisingly, the scientists found patterns of gene expression that indicated at least three subgroups of polyarthritis. There was an older subgroup (average age 11) that included both RF positive and negative children with an inflammatory gene expression signature bearing some resemblance to adult RA. A second older subgroup (RF negative) had less severe arthritis and an anti-inflammatory gene expression signature. A third subgroup was comprised mostly of younger patients (average age 7) who had no clearly defined gene expression signature and did have antinuclear antibodies (ANA). This third subgroup may be more similar to oligoarthritis patients, who frequently have
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Contact: Trish Reynolds
reynoldsp2@mail.nih.gov
301-496-8190
NIH/National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
Source:Eurekalert

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