Sixteen patients with aseptic arthritis developing after gonorrhoea and 14 patients with arthritis after nongonococcal urogenital infection have been analysed with respect to clinical course, roentgenological signs, and humoral as well as cellular immune responses to Neisseria gonorrhoeae antigen. Fifty-eight healthy blood donors were used as controls. The clinical pattern did not differ significantly between the 2 groups. Eye or skin lesions indicative of Reiter's syndrome were found in 5 patients of both groups. Signs of sacroiliac arthritis were found in 8 and 6 patients respectively. Gonococcal complement fixation was positive in 9 of 16 patients in the postgonorrhoeal arthritis group and in 0 of 14 patients in the arthritis group with nongonococcal urogenital infection. The lymphocyte stimulation induced by gonococcal antigen was significantly greater in patients with postgonorrhoeal arthritis than in healthy controls. When reference was made to the results of stimulation of the lymphocytes with PPD, there was also a significant difference in the lymphocyte reactivity to gonococcal antigen between the group of patients with postgonorrhoeal arthritis and that of patients with arthritis after non-gonococcal urogenital infection. No such difference was noted between the latter group and the healthy controls. The clinical and immunologic data argue in favour of the hypothesis that Neisseria gonorrhoeae may induce an aseptic arthritis which sometimes presents as a complete Reiter's syndrome.
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