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Association of rheumatic fever & rheumatic heart disease with plausible early & late-stage disease markers.

BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVES: Rheumatic fever (RF) and rheumatic heart disease (RHD) are the autoimmune sequelae caused by Group A Streptococcus. RHD still remains a major concern in the developing countries due to its poor diagnosis, lack of vaccines and social awareness among population. This study was aimed to identify the plausible early- and late-stage disease markers associated with RF/RHD.

METHODS: A total of 84 patients with confirmed pharyngitis (n=18), RF (n=23) and RHD (n=43) were included in the comparative analysis of different factors involved in host-pathogen interaction during RF/RHD pathogenesis.

RESULTS: This study revealed high titre of serum antistreptolysin O (ASO) antibody in pharyngitis compared to RF and RHD patients, whereas procollagen type 1 C-peptide (PICP) level was elevated in RHD which showed an inverse correlation with serum ASO titre. The significant elevation of serum anti-peptide associated with RF (PARF) antibody in RF patients was correlated as a probable stage-specific determinant. In addition, pro-inflammatory cytokine profile revealed high levels of interleukin-12 (IL-12)/IL-23p40, IL-17A in RF, whereas IL-6 concentration was higher in RHD compared to healthy controls.

INTERPRETATION & CONCLUSIONS: The overall assessment of the factors/ disease markers involved in host-pathogen interaction in RF/RHD may be suggestive of plausible disease marker in different groups of patients. Further studies with larger sample need to be done to better understand RF/RHD pathogenesis.

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