HLA-D typing was performed in 126 patients with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. HLA-DW4, the antigen found in previous studies to characterize adult rheumatoid arthritis, had a significantly lower frequency in children with arthritis than in normal controls (P<0.04). By contrast, in children the antigens HLA-DW7 (P<0.03) and HLA-DW8 (P<0.010) were increased compared to controls. The antigen TMo, detected with homozygous typing cells from a child with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, was found to be related to the cross-reactive specificities HLA-DW7 and DW11. 46% of the patients with persistent pauciarticular arthritis of childhood typed for the antigen TMo, compared to only 1% of normal controls. Thus the relative risk for persistent pauciarticular arthritis in relation to the presence of TMo was 67.7 (P<0.0001). These results provide evidence of fundamental differences between adult rheumatoid arthritis and arthritis of childhood. The latter group appears to include a population distinguishable clinically and characterized in these studies by the HLA-D determinant TMo.
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