Arthritis, Juvenile Idiopathic



  • Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is the most common chronic pediatric rheumatologic disease.
  • JIA can be associated with significant disability:
    • Age of onset: <16 years of age
    • Common symptoms: joint swelling, restricted range of motion, warmth, redness, pain
    • ≥6 weeks of symptoms prior to diagnosis
  • Seven (International League of Associations for Rheumatology [ILAR]) subtypes determined by clinical characteristics in first 6 months of illness (1):
    • Systemic: 10%; preceded by febrile onset of ≥2 weeks with rash, serositis, hepatosplenomegaly, or lymphadenopathy (1)
    • Polyarticular rheumatoid factor (RF) positive: 2–7%; ≥5 joints involvement (1); large and small joints; RF positive on two tests ≥3 months apart (2)
    • Polyarticular RF negative: 10–30%; ≥5 (large and small) joints involved (1); RF negative (2)
    • Oligoarticular: 30–60%; involvement of 1 to 4 joints; risk for chronic uveitis in antinuclear antibodies (ANA) positive females (1) and axial skeletal involvement in older boys (2); types: (i) persistent (40%): knee, ankle, elbow; (ii) extended type (20%): >4 joints after first 6 months
    • Psoriatic arthritis: 5%; arthritis with psoriasis or arthritis with >2 of the following: dactylitis, nail changes (pitting), psoriasis in first-degree relative (1)
    • Enthesitis-related arthritis: 1–11%; arthritis and enthesitis or one of them plus at least two of the following: sacroiliac or lumbosacral pain, Reiter syndrome or acute anterior uveitis in first-degree relative, acute symptomatic anterior uveitis, human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-B27 positive, history of ankylosing spondylitis, sacroiliitis with inflammatory bowel disease, onset of arthritis in male >6 years old (1)[C]
    • Undifferentiated arthritis (11–21%): presents with overlapping symptoms in ≥2 categories above or arthritis that does not fulfill above categories (2)
  • Systems affected: musculoskeletal, hematologic, lymphatic, immunologic, dermatologic, ophthalmologic, gastrointestinal
  • Synonyms: juvenile chronic arthritis; juvenile arthritis; juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA); Still disease (2)


54% of cases occur in children aged 0 to 5 years.

2 to 20/100,000 children aged <16 years in developed nations

16 to 150/100,000 children aged <16 years in developed nations (1)

Etiology and Pathophysiology

  • Humoral and cellular immunodysregulation; T lymphocytes play a key role.
  • Genetic predisposition; IL2RA/CD25 and VTCN1 implicated as genetic loci
  • Environmental triggers, possibly infectious
    • Rubella or parvovirus B19
    • Heat shock proteins
  • Immunoglobulin or complement deficiency

Risk Factors

Female gender 3:1

Commonly Associated Conditions

Other autoimmune disorders, chronic anterior uveitis (iridocyclitis), nutritional impairment, growth issues

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