The genetic profile of RF-positive polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) resembles adult rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Anne Hinks, Miranda C. Marion, Joanna Cobb, Mary E. Comeau, Marc Sudman, Hannah C Ainsworth, John Bowes, Mara L Becker, John F. Bohnsack, Johannes-Peter Haas, Daniel J Lovell, Elizabeth D Mellins, J. Lee Nelson, Ellen Nordal, Marilynn Punaro, Ann M. Reed, Carlos D. Rosé, Alan M Rosenberg, Marite Rygg, Samantha L SmithAnne M Stevens, Vibeke Videm, Carol A. Wallace, Lucy R Wedderburn, Annie Yarwood, Rae S M Yeung, Carl D. Langefeld, Susan D. Thompson, Wendy Thomson, Sampath Prahalad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is comprised of seven heterogeneous categories of chronic childhood arthritides. About 5% of children with JIA have rheumatoid factor (RF) positive arthritis, which phenotypically resembles adult rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Our objective was to compare and contrast the genetics of RF-positive polyarticular JIA with RA, and selected other JIA categories, to more fully understand the pathophysiological relationships of inflammatory arthropathies. Methods: RF-positive polyarticular JIA cases (n=340) and controls (n=14,412) were genotyped using the Immunochip array. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were tested for association using a logistic regression model adjusting for admixture proportions. Weighted genetic risk scores (wGRS) of published RA and JIA risk loci were calculated and their ability to predict RF-positive polyarticular JIA were compared. Results: As expected, the HLA region was strongly associated with RF-positive polyarticular JIA (p=5.51x10-31). Nineteen of 44 RA risk loci and 6 of 27 oligoarticular/RF-negative polyarticular JIA risk loci were associated (p<0.05) with RF-positive polyarticular JIA. The RA wGRS predicted RF-positive polyarticular JIA (AUC=0.71) better than the oligoarticular/RF-negative polyarticular JIA wGRS (AUC=0.56). RF-positive polyarticular JIA was also genetically more similar to RA patients with age at onset <30 years compared to RA onset >70 years. Conclusions: RF-positive polyarticular JIA is genetically more similar to adult RA than to the most common JIA categories and thus appears to be a childhood-onset presentation of autoantibody positive RA. These findings suggest common disease mechanisms, which could lead to novel therapeutic targets and shared treatment strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)957-962
JournalArthritis and Rheumatology
Issue number6
Early online date9 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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