HLA-B27 appears to play a direct role in the pathogenesis of ankylosing spondylitis and almost all patients with this disease have HLA-B27. Therefore, a diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis can virtually be excluded in the absence of HLA-B27. Many techniques have been used for HLA-B*27 typing. Of these, molecular methods are the most sensitive and specific but require extracted DNA as the testing material. A technique where HLA-B*27 is amplified directly from whole blood using sequence specific primers has been developed. This technique uses small sample volumes, is not restricted by choice of anticoagulant or sample age up to at least six weeks, and can be applied to other clinical polymerase chain reaction based procedures.
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