The histological features of the synovial membrane of peripheral joints in ankylosing spondylitis are similar to those seen in rheumatoid arthritis. There is intimal cell hyperplasia, a diffuse lymphocyte and plasma cell infiltrate, and formation of lymphoid follicles. Peroxidase-antiperoxidase staining shows the presence of IgG-, IgA-, and IgM-containing plasma cells in ankylosing spondylitis. The percentage of IgM-containing cells is significantly lower in ankylosing spondylitis than in rheumatoid arthritis.
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