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Clin Rheumatol. 2009 Jan;28(1):11-6. doi: 10.1007/s10067-008-0968-z. Epub 2008 Aug 8.

Reactive and undifferentiated arthritis in North Africa: use of PCR for detection of Chlamydia trachomatis.

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Department of Rheumatology, Rotes Kreuz Krankenhaus, Bremen, Germany.


Little is known about the possible role of Chlamydia in patients with reactive or unclassified arthritis in North Africa. This study used polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to survey this population. In addition, we compared the results in three different laboratories for PCR analyses for Chlamydia trachomatis (Ct) in synovial fluid (SF) and tissue (ST) from these North African patients with reactive arthritis (ReA), undifferentiated arthritis (UA), and in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA). Eight ReA (six posturethritic, two postenteritic), 23 UA, 13 OA, and 12 RA patients were studied in Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia. Serum, SF, and ST were obtained from each patient. Ct-PCR was performed in the three different laboratories and compared to Ct-serology [microimmunofluorescence (MIF) and anti-hsp60 enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)] performed in one laboratory. The rate of Ct-PCR positivity in SF/ST was low: none out of the eight ReA and three out of 23 UA patients. In the controls, Ct DNA was detected in two OA SF and in one RA SF. There was no concordance for Ct-PCR positivity between the three laboratories. MIF suggested previous Ct infection (IgG-positive) in two out of five posturethritic ReA, none out of one postenteritic ReA, one out of 17 UA, and nine out of 21 RA/OA patients tested. No MIF-positive patient was PCR-positive from SF or ST. However, anti-hsp60 IgG was detected in all four out of four patients positive by PCR and in 11 out of 44 PCR-negative patients (p = 0.002). In this multinational comparative study, the rate of Ct-PCR-positive synovial specimens in North African ReA/UA patients was low. Concordance among the three PCR testing laboratories was poor indicating the need for test standardization. All Ct-PCR-positive patients were found positive by anti-hsp60 IgG serology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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