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International Journal of Rheumatology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 756291, 16 pages
Review Article

TNF-α Polymorphisms in Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis: Which Potential Clinical Implications?

Department of Pediatrics, University of Chieti, Via Vestini 5, 66100 Chieti, Italy

Received 20 February 2012; Revised 13 July 2012; Accepted 3 August 2012

Academic Editor: Timothy Radstake

Copyright © 2012 A. Scardapane et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Whether tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) gene polymorphisms (SNPs) influence disease susceptibility and treatment of patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is presently uncertain. TNF-α is one of the most important cytokine involved in JIA pathogenesis. Several single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) have been identified within the region of the TNF-α gene but only a very small minority have proven functional consequences and have been associated with susceptibility to JIA. An association between some TNF-α SNPs and adult rheumatoid arthritis (RA) susceptibility, severity and clinical response to anti-TNF-α treatment has been reported. The most frenquetly studied TNF-α SNP is located at −308 position, where a substitution of the G allele with the rare A allele has been found. The presence of the allele −308A is associated to JIA and to a poor prognosis. Besides, the −308G genotype has been associated with a better response to anti-TNF-α therapy in JIA patients, confirming adult data. Psoriatic and oligoarticular arthritis are significantly associated to the −238 SNP only in some works. Studies considering other SNPs are conflicting and inconclusive. Large scale studies are required to define the contribution of TNF-α gene products to disease pathogenesis and anti-TNF-α therapeutic efficacy in JIA.