We have evaluated claims that impaired peripheral blood lymphocyte (PBL) transformation can occur with Klebsiella spp. in patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS). PBL of four AS patients were cultured in vitro with autogenous faecal klebsiella, as were the PBL of age (+/- 3 years) and sex-matched pairs of 15-20 AS and normal controls cultured with heterogeneous AS-derived klebsiella and control bacterial isolates. Three of four AS patients responded to their own isolates, and no significant differences were found between the matched pairs in response to heterogeneous klebsiella isolates, including K21. Our studies did not show impaired PBL transformation with klebsiella in AS and therefore do not support claims of antigenic cross-reactivity between klebsiella and HLA-B27.
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