Immune complexes have been reported in ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and may implicate infectious agents. Serum samples from 49 patients with AS were assayed for immune complexes by polyethylene glycol precipitation, followed by radial immunodiffusion and pepsinogen binding immunoassay. Both methods showed increases in IgA containing immune complexes, which correlated with serum IgA and with IgA rheumatoid factor concentrations, but did not show increases in other immune complex components. Increased immune complexes were associated with peripheral joint synovitis, but showed no correlation with other clinical or laboratory indices of disease activity. Immune complexes from nine AS serum samples and one AS synovial fluid were electrophoretically separated then probed with anti-Klebsiella pneumoniae, but AS specific antigens were not identified. This study did not suggest a major role for immune complexes in AS without peripheral disease, nor provide serological evidence for the involvement of klebsiella antigens.
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