June 2, 2008

Ankylosing Spondylitis – Genetic Factors, Family History & Infection

Posted in Category : Bone, Joint & Muscles Disorders

Ankylosing spondylitis is a form of arthritis characterized by the inflammation of joints between the vertebrae of spine. It may cause stiffness and pain in different body parts such as neck, back, jaw and hips. Other organs such as heart, eyes, kidneys and lungs are also found to be affected by this disease. If you are male between the age-group of 17-30 years, then you are more susceptible for this disease as it affects more commonly to men than women. If you are a man, you develop the inflammation of pelvis, spine, shoulders and chest wall; while if you are a woman, you may have the inflammation of hips, pelvis, wrists and knees

Though medical science is not clear about exact causes of ankylosing spondylitis, some genetic factors are supposed to be responsible for this disease. HLA-B27 is the most significant gene associated with this disorder. Recently, two more genes such as IL23R and ARTS1 related to this disease are identified. There are approximately 5-6 genes suspected to be involved with ankylosing spondylitis. If you are less than 40 and positive for HLA-B27 gene and having the family history of ankylosing spondylitis, then you are prone to develop this disease.

If you have positive HLA-B27 genetic marker, family history of ankylosing spondylitis and frequent gastrointestinal infections, then you are at higher risk of developing ankylosing spondylitis. A person with genetic predisposition, immune response mediators and inflammatory bowel disease is at the higher risk of developing this disease. If you have ankylosing spondylitis, then there are more chances of positive results for HLA-B27. If either parent has HLA-B27 gene, then there are 50% chances of passing-on this gene to you. But, the possibility of developing ankylosing spondylitis is less than 10%.

If you have bacterial infections such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, they can trigger the underlying chronic inflammation which can cause the development of ankylosing spondylitis.

Ankylosing spondylitis is supposed to be associated with the secretion of cytokines such as TNF-alpha. The secretion of these immune response mediators is due to prolonged immune response to the infection. If you have elevated levels of TNF-alpha in the sacroiliac joints, then you are at higher risk of developing this disease.

Besides this, if you have epidural hematoma, trauma such as cervical spine fracture, subarachnoid hemorrhage and rotary atlantoaxial subluxation, infections like meningitis, cervical lymphadentitis, epiglottitis, epidural abscess and discitis, torticollis, tumors and dystonic reaction, then also you are prone to ankylosing spondylitis.