Objective: To determine cytokines and MHC class II alleles in Japanese patients with adult Still's disease (ASD) and clarify the association between those profiles and chronic articular disease.
Methods: Of 35 patients with ASD (13 men, 22 women, mean age at onset 34.0 yr), 17 (49%) had chronic arthritis (>6 months, chronic articular ASD) and 18 (51%) lacked chronic arthritis (systemic ASD). Cytokines and cytokine receptors in sera were measured by ELISA. Correlations of each cytokine with disease activity or C-reactive protein (CRP) were determined. MHC class II alleles were examined by polymerase chain reaction methods.
Results: In chronic articular ASD, female gender was more frequent and liver dysfunction and myalgia were rarer than in systemic ASD. In active disease, the white blood cell count was lower, but total IgG was greater in patients with chronic articular ASD than in those with systemic ASD. Tumour necrosis factor (TNF) alpha, soluble TNF receptor 2 and interleukin (IL)-18 were increased in both types of ASD, even in remission. Soluble IL-2 receptors, IL-4 and IL-18 levels were correlated with disease activity or CRP value only in chronic articular ASD. Interferon gamma and IL-8 remained increased only in chronic articular ASD, even when disease activity, including IL-6 and CRP, was low. DRB1*1501 (DR2) and DRB1*1201 (DR5) alleles were more frequent in chronic articular than in systemic ASD, whereas DQB1*0602 (DQ1) was frequently observed in both types of ASD.
Conclusion: The present study suggests that ASD with chronic articular disease has distinct clinical, cytokine and immunogenetic profiles.