Genetic variation in VTCN1 (B7-H4) is associated with course of disease in juvenile idiopathic arthritis

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The course of disease in juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is unpredictable with episodes of activity and remission. In order to identify predictive factors, 93 SNPs, JIA subtype, age at onset and ANA status were studied in relation to disease course.


Genetic and clinical parameters were analysed in a cohort of 272 Caucasian patients with persistent oligoarthritis (n=129), extended oligoarthritis (n=57) and rheumatoid factor negative polyarthritis (n=86). Categories of disease course (remitting (n=65), intermediate (n=96) and unremitting (n=111)) were designed based on the cumulative time spent in active disease in the first 2 years.


Univariate analysis revealed association of the course of disease with JIA subtype (p=5.7*10–5) and three SNPs; VTCN1 rs10 923 223 (p=4.4*10−5), VTCN1 rs12 046 117 (p=0.017) and CDK6 rs42 041 (p=0.038). In a subsequent multivariate ordinal logistic regression analysis, VTCN1 rs10 923 223 (OR 0.41, 95%-CI 0.26 to 0.63) and JIA subtype (OR 3.8, 95%-CI 2.0 to 7.2; OR 2.5, 95%-CI 1.4 to 4.2, for extended oligoarthritis and RF-negative polyarthritis vs persistent oligoarthritis, respectively) were the strongest independent factors for course of disease.


This study provides evidence that VTCN1, encoding B7-H4, is associated with course of disease in selected subtypes of JIA. VTCN1 might be useful in predicting the course of disease.

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