OBJECTIVE To measure gut immunity directly in jejunal fluid in patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
METHODS Antibodies against three different Enterobacterias were measured in jejunal perfusion fluids (collected by a double balloon perfusion device) of 19 patients with AS, 14 patients with RA, and 22 healthy controls using enzyme linked immunosorbent assay.
RESULTS The AS patients had significantly increased jejunal fluid concentrations of IgM, IgG, and IgA class antibodies against Klebsiella pneumoniae, and IgM and IgA class antibodies against Escherichia coli and Proteus mirabilis compared with healthy controls. When compared with the patients with RA, the AS patients had higher concentrations of IgA and IgG class antibodies only against K pneumoniae. The RA patients had higher IgM class antibody concentrations against all three studied Enterobacterias, when compared with the healthy controls, suggesting an enhanced mucosal immune response in these patients. A three month treatment with sulphasalazine did not decrease enterobacterial antibody concentrations in the 10 patients with AS.
CONCLUSION There is strong direct evidence for an abnormal mucosal humoral immune response particularly to K pneumoniae in patients with AS.
- ankylosing spondylitis
- enzyme linked immunosorbent assay
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