Association of a B-cell alloantigen with susceptibility to rheumatic fever


THE possibility that genetic factors determine susceptibility to rheumatic fever following infection with Group A streptococci was suggested by epidemiological and family studies1. However, with the exception of a slightly increased frequency of Lewis group secretors2, the identification of a genetic marker in the patient group has been unsuccessful. In particular, the distribution of HLA-A and B allotypes did not reveal any consistent difference from controls3–5. We report here that a novel B-cell alloantigen has been found at a significantly increased frequency among patients with rheumatic fever, providing further evidence for the value of B-cell alloantisera as reagents for the demonstration of disease associations with genetic determinants relevant to the immune system. This alloantigen was of particular interest because it was not found to be associated with any recognised HLA-D locus determinant.

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PATARROYO, M., WINCHESTER, R., VEJERANO, A. et al. Association of a B-cell alloantigen with susceptibility to rheumatic fever. Nature 278, 173–174 (1979).

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