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Arthritis Rheum. 2007 Aug;56(8):2784-8.

An unexpectedly high frequency of MEFV mutations in patients with anti-citrullinated protein antibody-negative palindromic rheumatism.

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  • 1Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer, and Servei de Reumatologia, Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, Villaroel 170, 08036 Barcelona, Spain.



To investigate whether the MEFV gene, which is involved in the regulation of the inflammatory response and has been associated with familial Mediterranean fever (FMF) and intermittent hydrarthrosis, is implicated in the pathogenesis of palindromic rheumatism (PR) and to examine its clinical presentation and its evolution in a Spanish cohort of PR patients.


Family histories, demographic clinical data, and laboratory characteristics of 75 patients diagnosed as having PR were collected from medical records and personal interviews. The healthy control group included 325 blood bank donors. The FMF control group was made up of 84 Spanish FMF patients. Genomic DNA was isolated, and MEFV gene mutation analysis was performed by polymerase chain reaction amplification and sequence analysis.


Sixty-five unrelated PR patients were finally included in the study. MEFV gene mutation analysis identified 8 of these 65 patients (12.3%) as carriers of at least 1 mutated MEFV allele. Patients with MEFV mutations had higher mean age and age at disease onset, but lower mean serum levels of anti-citrullinated protein antibodies (ACPAs). No other significant differences were observed between patients with and those without mutations. The frequency of MEFV mutations in ACPA-negative PR patients was 22.2%, compared with 5.3% in ACPA-positive PR patients (P = 0.058).


This study shows a previously unreported high prevalence of mutations of the MEFV gene in patients with ACPA-negative PR. This supports the hypothesis that it might be a susceptibility gene. Our findings also support the hypothesis that the MEFV gene might participate in the pathogenesis of other undifferentiated relapsing inflammatory rheumatic disorders.

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