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Chlamydia may play role in a type of arthritis
Date:4/30/2009

Spondylarthritis (SpA) represents a group of arthritidies that share clinical features such as inflammatory back pain and inflammation at sites where tendons attach to bone. It includes ankylosing spondylitis (AS), psoriatic arthritis, inflammatory bowel-disease-related arthritis, reactive arthritis (ReA) and undifferentiated spondylarthritides (uSpA). Since Chlamydia trachomatis or Chlamydia pneumoniae (which are often asymptomatic) frequently cause ReA, a new study examined whether there was a connection between these two infections and uSpA. The study was published in the May issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism (http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/76509746/home).

Led by John D. Carter of theUniversity of South Florida, the study involved blood and synovial tissue analysis from 26 patients who had chronic uSpA or Chlamydia-induced ReA. Synovial tissue samples from 167 osteoarthritis patients were used as controls. Samples were analyzed to assess chlamydial DNA and the 26 subjects were asked if they had any known exposure to Chlamydia trachomatis or Chlamydia pneumoniae and if so, the infection was documented in relation to the onset of their uSpA. They also underwent a physical exam that included evaluation of swollen and tender joints and other symptoms of SpA. The results showed that the rate of Chlamydia infection was 62 percent in uSpA patients, significantly higher than the 12 percent seen in control subjects.

It is believed that as many as 150,000 cases of Chlamydia trachomatis-induced ReA may appear in the U.S. each year compared to about 125,000 new cases of rheumatoid arthritis. This is a low estimate since it does not include cases resulting from Chlamydia pneumoniae. "Thus, Chlamydia-induced ReA represents a considerable burden on the health care systems of the U.S. and other nations, and its impact on those systems may well be significantly underre
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Contact: Sean Wagner
medicalnews@bos.blackwellpublishing.com
781-388-8550
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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