Objective: To examine the distribution of HLA class II alleles in clinically distinct juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) subsets.
Methods: We typed 298 patients and 181 controls for HLA-DRB1, DQA1, DQB1, and DPB1 alleles using polymerase chain reaction and oligonucleotide probe techniques.
Results: Each JRA subset was characterized by a distinct distribution of HLA class II alleles. For the persistently pauciarticular and rheumatoid factor-negative polyarticular JRA subsets, certain combinations of DRB1 and DPB1 alleles were characteristic. In patients without antinuclear antibodies and chronic iridocyclitis, there was an increase of DRB1*0101/02 and DQA1*0101.
Conclusion: Findings of HLA typing support clinical subdivisions of the disease and suggest the existence of a novel DRB1*0101/02 and DQA1*0101 associated disease subset.