Diagnosis and classification of juvenile idiopathic arthritis

J Autoimmun. Feb-Mar 2014;48-49:31-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jaut.2014.01.009. Epub 2014 Jan 21.


In recent years, it has become increasingly clear that the term Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) comprises not one disease but several. Moreover, recent studies strongly suggest that some of these clinico-pathophysiologic entities appear to cross current diagnostic categories. The ultimate goal of the JIA classification is to facilitate development of better, more specific therapy for different forms of disease though improved understanding of pathophysiology. The past two decades have witnessed significant advances in treatment and improved outcomes for many children with chronic arthritis. However, understanding of the basic biologic processes underlying these diseases remains far from complete. As a result, even the best biologic agents of today represent "halfway technologies". Because they do not treat fundamental biologic processes, they are inherently expensive, need to be given for a long time in order to ameliorate the adverse effects of chronic inflammation, and do not cure the disease. Pediatric rheumatology is now entering an era in which diagnostic categories may need to change to keep up with discovery. A more precise, biologically based classification is likely to contribute to development of more specific and improved treatments for the various forms of childhood arthritis. In this review, we discuss how genetic, gene expression, and immunologic findings have begun to influence how these diseases are understood and classified.

Keywords: Autoinflammatory diseases; Classification; Juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Juvenile / classification*
  • Arthritis, Juvenile / diagnosis*
  • Arthritis, Juvenile / drug therapy
  • Arthritis, Juvenile / immunology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / diagnosis
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / physiopathology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / therapy
  • Child
  • Chronic Disease
  • Genetic Variation / immunology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / classification
  • Inflammation / diagnosis
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / physiopathology
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic / trends