OBJECTIVES--To determine whether polymorphisms of the TAP genes, which lie within the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), are associated with juvenile chronic arthritis (JCA). METHODS--Eighty five JCA patients and 166 white controls were typed for the TAP gene alleles using ARMS-PCR. The same populations were analysed for DRB1 and DPB1 alleles using PCR-SSO typing. RESULTS--TAP2B was increased in early onset pauciarticular JCA (EOPA-JCA) compared with controls (62% v 44% Odds ratio (OR) 2.1, 95% CI 0.9-4.7). After allowing for the known linkage disequilibrium between TAP2B and DR1 the association of TAP2B and EOPA-JCA was maintained (OR 3.5, 95% CI 1.3-9.7). HLA-DRB1*04 and TAP2D were found to be in linkage disequilibrium in both the control (delta 0.018 p < 0.05) and JCA patient groups (delta 0.021 p < 0.05). No linkage disequilibrium was found between the TAP and DPB1 alleles. CONCLUSIONS--The association between TAP2B and EOPA-JCA is a further indication of the heterogeneity which exists in this clinically defined subgroup of patients.
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