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Reactive arthritis

Toivanen, Auli MD; Toivanen, Paavo MD

Current Opinion in Rheumatology: July 2000 - Volume 12 - Issue 4 - pp 300-305
Infectious arthritis and immune dysfunction

During the past year, no big advances were reported in understanding the pathogenesis or treatment of reactive arthritis (ReA). The need for generally accepted diagnostic criteria has become a central issue. Regarding pathogenesis, attention has been drawn to a similarity between ReA and the experimental antigen-induced arthritis. Molecular mechanisms of the HLA-B27-associated pathogenesis have remained, in spite of intensive research, so far a mystery. It is apparent that antibiotics have no effect on the fully developed reactive arthritis, with the exception of patients with Chlamydia-triggered ReA, who might benefit from a course of antibiotics.

Abbreviations:IL interleukin, PCA polymerase chain reaction, PCR polymerase chain reaction, ReA reactive arthritis

During the past year, several interesting and important observations of reactive arthritis (ReA) have been made, and a few excellent reviews have been published [1–3]. An important international effort is going on to develop a classification to make possible comparable patient materials for clinical and basic studies. The interactions between the triggering agents and the host immune mechanisms have been further characterized. Likewise, important studies on the value of antibiotics in ReA have been completed, and further results will soon be available.

Departments of Medicine and Medical Microbiology, Turku University,Finland

Correspondence to Paavo Toivanen, MD, Department of Medical Microbiology, Turku University, FIN-20520 Turku, Finland; e-mail:

© 2000 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.