alexa Rheumatic Heart Disease: Genes, Inflammation and Autoimmunity
ISSN: 2161-1149

Rheumatology: Current Research
Open Access

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Review Article

Rheumatic Heart Disease: Genes, Inflammation and Autoimmunity

Luiza Guilherme1,2*, Karen F. Köhler1,2 and Jorge Kalil1,2,3

1Heart Institute, School of Medicine, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil

2Immunology Investigation Institute, National Institute for Science and Technology, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil

3Clinical Immunology and Allergy Division, School of Medicine, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil

*Corresponding Author:
Luiza Guilherme Ph.D
Heart Institute, School of Medicine
University of São Paulo. Av. Dr Enéas de Carvalho Aguiar
44, 05403- 903, São Paulo, SP, Brazil
Tel: 55-11-26615901
Fax: 55-11-26615953
E-mail: [email protected]

Received Date: January 24, 2012; Accepted Date: March 04, 2012; Published Date: March 08, 2012

Citation: Guilherme L, Köhler KF, Kalil J (2012) Rheumatic Heart Disease: Genes, Inflammation and Autoimmunity. Rheumatol Curr Res S4:001. doi: 10.4172/2161-1149.S4-001

Copyright: © 2012 Guilherme L, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.



Rheumatic heart disease is a sequel of rheumatic fever that follows an untreated group A streptococcal infection in young susceptible individuals. The disease is mediated by autoimmune reactions. Several genes related to both the innate and adaptive immune response are involved. Several HLA class II alleles have been associated with the disease. In the present review, we focus on punctual genetic polymorphisms associated with RF/RHD development, most of which are related innate immunity. The role of inflammatory cytokines as mediators of rheumatic heart lesions and a discussion of the major autoantigens recognized due to their molecular mimicry with streptococcal antigens are also presented. A vaccine against S. pyogenes is being developed, and an increase in the knowledge of the underlying mechanisms of the disease will certainly facilitate the development of an effective and safe vaccine.


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