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HLA-B27 antigen

The HLA-B27 antigen is associated with a large number of autoimmune diseases . That is why it is of great importance that the person who has positive HLA-B27 detects it early. In this way you can take the necessary precautions and / or treatment.

The early detection of this antigen allows a better prognosis . This is because a much more effective and early control of the different diseases that can develop in the presence of HLA-B27 can be carried out.

What is HLA-B27?

Before understanding what HLA-B27 is, it is essential to know what HLA is in general. HLA are antigens that are present on the surface of practically all cells , as well as on leukocytes. The main function of HLA is to distinguish the body’s own bodies or agents from those that are foreign.

In this way, HLA has the ability to develop an immune response to combat foreign agents that may threaten the stability of the organism . On the other hand, HLA-B27 is also a human leukocyte surface antigen belonging to class I and encoded at the B locus.

However, unlike the usual antigens, HLA-B27 cannot differentiate between external agents and its own . Because of this, as a consequence, there can be a predisposition to develop autoimmune diseases .

HLA-B27 positive

To detect the presence of the HLA-B27 antigen, a blood test or test is necessary. These types of tests are usually done when your doctor suspects that your patient may have ankylosing spondyloarthritis, one of the most common conditions associated with HLA-B27 positive.

If the patient has joint pain, swelling and even stiffness in the joints, the doctor, in addition to ordering the HLA-B27 antigen, may order other tests, such as the following:

  • Rheumatoid factor.
  • C-reactive protein .
  • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate.
  • X-rays.
  • Urine analysis.

It is also common for this test to be done before carrying out an organ transplant . This, because it is extremely important that the donor’s antigens are compatible with those of the person who will receive the transplant for the process to be successful. Likewise, this analysis is required when a paternity test is to be performed.

Normal results for this test are negative, as it indicates that the HLA-B27 antigen is not present in the body. If positive, it means that the HLA-B27 antigen is indeed present. This means that you may have a predisposition to develop autoimmune diseases and / or disorders .

However, it is important to emphasize that a positive result is not always synonymous with being sick. In fact, less than 10% of people who carry the HLA-B27 antigen develop any disease.

On the other hand, approximately 90-95% of people who suffer from any of the diseases commonly associated with this antigen are HLA-B27 positive.

HLA-B27 positive symptoms

Having HLA-B27 does not necessarily mean that symptoms should be present, since as mentioned above, less than 10% of people who carry this antigen develop any disease.

However, in case of presenting any type of symptoms, these are usually related to the symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis. Therefore, the usual symptoms of HLA-B27 positive are pain and swelling in the joints and / or lower back.

Common and / or related illnesses

There are some diseases that are closely related to this antigen and are quite common. Among them are seronegative spondyloarthropathies, of which approximately 60-90% of people who suffer from it are HLA-B27 positive. These diseases are characterized by the following symptoms:

  • Tiredness, fatigue and poor functional capacity.
  • Problems and difficulty getting to sleep.
  • Joint pain and periarticular pain.
  • Stiff joints with little mobility.
  • Alternating gluteal pain.
  • Stiffness, poor mobility and pain in the cervical, lumbar and dorsal areas.
  • Back pain improves with physical activity and worsens when you are at rest.

Although these are the symptoms that occur in seronegative spondyloarthropathies in general, it is important to know the specific diseases and their symptoms. Some of them include the following:

ankylosing spondylitis

Ankylosing spondylitis is an autoimmune disease in which some joints become inflamed and stiff. This causes great pain in the person suffering from it and reduces their mobility. In general, the most affected areas are the lumbar and cervical, however, it can also affect the knees, hips and other areas.

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Due to this disease, both the iris and the uvea may become inflamed. Other organs can also be affected, such as the lungs, heart, or kidneys. It is important to note that uveitis (inflammation of the uvea) is one of the most common complications in this disease.

Reactive arthritis

The reactive arthritis is a rheumatic disease that usually begins with a gastrointestinal or genitourinary infection. Among some of its symptoms are inflammation of the urethra, inflammation of the enthesis, uvea or sacroiliac joints. It is also customary conjunctivitis , the arthritis and mucocutaneous lesions.

In addition to the symptoms mentioned above, some dermatological conditions may be present . These are serous papules which can appear on the palms of the hands or on the soles of the feet. Although less common, they can also appear on the scalp, nails, and trunk.

Psoriatic arthropathy

Associated with psoriasis , psoriatic arthropathy is characterized by inflammation of the joints. As a result, deformation and loss of mobility may develop in the affected joints. Psoriatic arthritis can occur in the joints of the extremities, in the hands, spine, pelvis and others.

Being closely related to psoriasis , it might be thought that the skin is also necessarily affected. However, this does not happen in all cases, since although someone has joint problems, they do not necessarily have skin problems . However, it may develop later, or may never happen.

Enteropathic arthritis

For its part, enteropathic arthritis is related to inflammatory diseases in the intestine, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease . Some of the most common symptoms of enteropathic arthritis include joint pain and abdominal pain.

Joint inflammation is also common, diarrhea occurs and the way in which food is absorbed is altered. Other diseases associated with enteropathic arthritis are Whipple’s disease, collagen arthritis, which is associated with celiac disease, and arthritis associated with intestinal anastomosis.

Treatment of HLA-B27 positive

There is no general treatment for HLA-B27 positive, as it is linked to various diseases. Therefore, it is of great importance that the doctor determines the disease that the patient suffers in order to proceed with a specific treatment.

However, for the most part, the treatment for diseases associated with the HLA-B27 antigen is quite similar. This includes the prescription of anti-inflammatories and pain relievers, methotrexate and a rehabilitation phase .

Anti-inflammatories

Thanks to the administration of anti-inflammatories, patients can relieve pain caused by inflammation of the joints. In turn, it is possible to reduce joint inflammation and even suppress it. All this together will allow the affected person to improve their quality of life considerably.

Analgesics

As one of the main ailments of HLA-B27 antigen associated diseases is pain, pain relievers are an important part of treatment. These will help the patient to reduce pain and thus be able to have a more enjoyable life.

Rehabilitation

Physical activity and sport are an essential part in the treatment of common HLA-B27 positive illnesses. The rheumatologist is in charge of recommending and indicating the physical exercises that the patient must carry out for their rehabilitation,

Other treatments

In some cases, sulfasalazine can be used as an anti-inflammatory and methotrexate to stop arthritis present in the peripheral joints. Also, surgery may be necessary. This, only when the joints are very damaged and without mobility.

As has been observed throughout the article, there are several diseases that are related to positive HLA-B27. Thus, to determine exactly which disease is affecting the patient, several tests and analyzes will be necessary.

In this way, the doctor will be able to indicate to the patient the most appropriate treatment to treat his condition. In addition, it is essential to note that early detection of the HLA-B27 antigen will help improve the patient’s prognosis. Early detection is synonymous with early treatment that will allow you to deal with the disease more effectively.

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Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of ​​Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.

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