Behçet's disease

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Abstract

Purpose of review

To summarize recent scientific developments in the epidemiology, genetics, pathogenesis and treatment of Behçet's disease.

Recent findings

Important genetic and immunologic studies were performed. Tumor necrosis factor-α-1031C allele was associated with disease susceptibility. Polymorphisms in interleukin-10, IL-8 and CD28 genes were also associated with Behçet's disease. Association with endothelial nitric oxide synthase gene polymorphism was confirmed but was ethnic related. Significant T helper type 1 immune reaction was reconfirmed in recent studies, especially during active phases, but T helper type 2 reaction may also play a role. Interleukin-12B heterozygosity is associated with Behçet's disease susceptibility and plays an important role in mediating T helper type 1 antistreptococcal immune response. Selenium binding protein may be a target antigen in Behçet's uveitis. Pathergy reaction is most frequently positive in the forearm; multiple needle pricks increase positive rate. Experience with anti-tumour necrosis factor therapy for various manifestations is increasing. Cyclosporin A treatment may be associated with new onset of neuro-Behçet. There is a high prevalence of headaches with moderate or severe disability. Cardiac manifestations include left ventricular dysfunction and coronary flow abnormalities. Anti-Saccharomyces cerevisiae antibodies may be especially common in intestinal Behçet's disease and are also increased in healthy relatives of patients.

Summary

Considerable progress has been made, particularly in understanding the immunologic and genetic basis of the disease. The importance of novel serological markers and autoantigens merits further investigations.

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