In search of HLA-B27

Half of those with anterior uveitis carry the HLA-B27 antigen on their white blood cells. Kim Thomas explores the role this genetic association plays in eye disorders.

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Human leukocyte antigens (HLAs) are molecules found on the surface of most cells in the body that regulate the immune system. It is not entirely clear how HLA-B27, which appears on white blood cells, influences immune dysfunction. The connection between HLA-B27 and the inflammatory rheumatic disorder ankylosing spondylitis was discovered in 1972. Since then, the role it plays in a number of disorders, including anterior uveitis, has become more apparent.

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