Pathogenesis of Behçet’s disease: autoinflammatory features and beyond


Behçet’s disease (BD) is an inflammatory disorder of unknown aetiology characterised by recurrent attacks affecting the mucocutaneous tissues, eyes, joints, blood vessels, brain and gastrointestinal tract. It is a multifactorial disease classified as a variable vessel vasculitis, and several environmental triggers may induce inflammatory episodes in genetically susceptible individuals. BD has several autoinflammatory features including recurrent self-limited clinical manifestations overlapping with monogenic autoinflammatory disorders, significant host predisposition and abnormally increased inflammatory response, with a robust innate component. Human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-B*51 is the strongest susceptibility factor described so far affecting the disease risk and typical phenotype. Non-HLA genetic associations such as endoplasmic reticulum aminopeptidase 1 (ERAP1), interleukin 23 receptor (IL23R) and IL10 variations suggest that BD shares susceptibility genes and inflammatory pathways with spondyloarthritis. Although genomewide association studies revealed an increased risk associated with recessively inherited ERAP1 variations in HLA-B*51 positive patients, it is not clear yet whether certain peptide-HLA allele combinations result in an adaptive response by a self-antigen-directed cytotoxic response or an innate response by modulating an NK cell activity or causing an unfolded protein response. Understanding of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) Class I-driven inflammatory response is expected to provide insights for the development of better treatment and remission-induction options in BD as well as in ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and psoriasis.

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Correspondence to Ahmet Gül.

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This article is a contribution to the Special Issue on The Inflammasome and Autoinflammatory Diseases - Guest Editors: Seth L. Masters, Tilmann Kallinich and Seza Ozen

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Gül, A. Pathogenesis of Behçet’s disease: autoinflammatory features and beyond. Semin Immunopathol 37, 413–418 (2015).

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  • Behçet’s disease
  • HLA-B*51
  • Multifactorial autoinflammatory disorder
  • ERAP1
  • Spondyloarthritis