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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2007 Sep;1110:112-20.

B27 disease is a new autoimmune disease that affects millions of people.

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School of Biomedical and Health Sciences, King's College London, 150 Stamford Street, London SE1 9NH, UK.


"B27 disease" is a new autoimmune disease that afflicts millions of people throughout the world. "B27 disease" occurs in individuals who have ankylosing spondylitis (AS) or preankylosing spondylitis and/or uveitis and are also positive for HLA-B27. Molecular mimicry between the bowel microbe Klebsiella and the HLA-B27 molecule, as well as the spinal collagens types I, III, and IV, indicates a pathological mechanism involving autoimmunity. Antibodies to Klebsiella microbes have been reported in AS patients from 18 different countries. Sera from patients with AS show complement-dependent cytopathic activity against sheep red cells coated with HLA-B27 peptide antigens. Diagnosis of B27 disease can lead to early treatment, involving low-starch diet, sulfasalazine, and immunosuppressive and biological agents so as to prevent the irreversible bony changes of established classical AS. The concept of B27 disease provides a new approach to the study and treatment of these disorders and needs to be evaluated in prospective studies by the world rheumatological community.

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