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Cigarette smoking has a dose-dependent impact on progression of structural damage in the spine in patients with axial spondyloarthritis: results from the GErman SPondyloarthritis Inception Cohort (GESPIC)
  1. Denis Poddubnyy1,
  2. Hildrun Haibel1,
  3. Joachim Listing2,
  4. Elisabeth Märker-Hermann3,
  5. Henning Zeidler4,
  6. Jürgen Braun5,
  7. Joachim Sieper1,
  8. Martin Rudwaleit6
  1. 1Rheumatology, Campus Benjamin Franklin, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany
  2. 2 Department of Epidemiology, German Rheumatism Research Centre, Berlin, Germany
  3. 3 Dr. Horst Schmidt Kliniken, Wiesbaden, Germany
  4. 4 Medizinische Hochschule, Hannover, Germany
  5. 5 Rheumazentrum Ruhrgebiet, Herne, Germany
  6. 6 Endokrinologikum Berlin, Berlin, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Dr Denis Poddubnyy, Department of Rheumatology, Med. Department I, Campus Benjamin Franklin, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Hindenburgdamm 30, Berlin 12203, Germany; denis.poddubnyy{at}

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Recently, we demonstrated that smoking status itself is an independent predictor of radiographic spinal progression over 2 years in patients with axial SpA (axSpA).1 Here we report in more detail the relationship between tobacco smoking and development of structural damage in the spine in patients with axSpA with a focus on a dose-dependent association and a relationship between smoking and activity of systemic inflammation.

In total, 210 patients with axSpA (115 with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and 95 with non-radiographic axSpA (nr-axSpA)) from the GErman SPondyloarthritis Inception Cohort (GESPIC)1 ,2 were included. Detailed description of the patients and radiographs scoring has been reported elsewhere.1 In the current analysis, we used an extended syndesmophytes count, which included lateral views of the cervical and lumbar spine, and also antero-posterior views of the lumbar spine. Significant radiographic spinal progression was defined as (1) worsening of the modified Stoke Ankylosing Spondylitis Spine Score (mSASSS) by ≥2 units after 2 years and (2) development of a new syndesmophyte or progression of existing syndesmophytes (formation of a bridging syndesmophyte from two single syndesmophytes) after 2 years. Smoking status and smoking intensity (non-smoker, 10 cigarettes a day and less, 11–20 cigarettes, and more than 20 cigarettes …

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  • Funding As part of the German competence network in rheumatology (Kompetenznetz Rheuma), GESPIC has been financially supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung—BMBF). As funding by BMBF was reduced according to schedule in 2005 and stopped in 2007, complementary financial support has been obtained also from Abbott, Amgen, Centocor, Schering–Plough, and Wyeth. Since 2010 additional support has being obtained also from ANCYLOSS (grant number FKZ 01EC1002D) and ArthroMark (grant number FKZ 01EC1009A) projects funded by BMBF.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval Ethics Committee of the Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.