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HLA-B27 sequences identified in a mediaeval skeleton with ankylosing spondylitis
  1. I Leden1,
  2. A Götherström2,
  3. L Drenzel3,
  4. B Svensson4
  1. 1
    Section of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, Central Hospital, Kristianstad, Sweden
  2. 2
    Department of Evolutionary Biology, University of Uppsala, Uppsala, Sweden
  3. 3
    National Historical Museum (SHM), Department of Cultural History and Collections, Stockholm, Sweden
  4. 4
    Section of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, Helsingborg’s Lasarett, Helsingborg, Sweden
  1. Dr I Leden, Bokvägen 27, SE-291 43 Kristianstad, Sweden; ido.leden{at}

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The aim of this letter is to make public an unusual skeletal remain with classic features of ankylosing spondylitis (AS). Furthermore, human leucocyte antigen (HLA)-B27 sequences have been studied.

In the National Historical Museum in Stockholm there is a male skeleton (inventory no 14549). It was found during the excavation of St Clemens, a church ruin from the Middle Ages in Visby, Sweden. The preserved parts form a block, with smooth, continuous calcifications of the long ligaments and bony ankyloses of the intervertebral joints. Several ribs are fixed to the thoracic vertebrae through ankyloses of the costovertebral joints (fig 1). Also the sacroiliac joints are fused. The man lived sometime between 900 and 1300 AD. The details of this excavation were published in …

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  • Competing interests: None.

  • Ethics approval: The Ethics Committee of Lund University Hospital approved the study (LU 854–03).

  • Patient consent: Obtained.

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