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The current classification for juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) separates the disease entity JIA into seven disease categories based on clinical and laboratory features1 It is postulated that the combination of early onset of disease and antinuclear antibody (ANA) positivity better classifies a homogeneous subset of patients than the current International League of Associations for Rheumatology (ILAR) categories, displaying asymmetric arthritis, female predominance and an increased risk of developing iridocyclitis.2–5 The classification by the number of joints involved might not be an adequate criterion for identifying homogeneous disease entities. We sought out to determine if this homogenous group of young ANA-positive patients could be distinguished from other JIA patients based on their soluble inflammatory profile. These profiles could aid in the differentiation of patient groups by identifying similar underlying inflammatory processes.
This study prospectively followed 40 patients with JIA at onset of disease at their first visit to the paediatric rheumatology clinic for oligoarthritis (n=24) and rheumatoid factor-negative polyarthritis (n=16). Ethics approval was given by the regional review boards. Informed consent was obtained from all patients. The occurrence of iridocylitis was determined by reviewing total clinical history; the time of follow-up did not differ between the groups analysed (table 1). Apart from nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) therapy, …