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Ann Med. 2017 May;49(3):196-205. doi: 10.1080/07853890.2016.1243802. Epub 2016 Nov 12.

Pathogenesis of ligaments ossification in spondyloarthritis: insights and doubts.

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a Rheumatology Clinic, Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences , University of Foggia Medical School , Foggia , Italy.


Despite intensive research in spondyloarthritis pathogenesis, some important questions still remain unanswered, particularly concerning enthesis new bone formation. Several evidences suggest that it prevalently occurs by endochondral ossification, however it remains to identify factors that can induce and influence its initiation and progression. Recent progress, achieved in animal models and in vitro and genetic association studies, has led us to hypothesize that several systemic factors (adipokines and gut hormones) and local factors (BMP and Wnt signaling) as well as angiogenesis and mechanical stress are involved. We critically review and summarize the available data and delineate the possible mechanisms involved in enthesis ossification, particularly at spinal ligament level. KEY MESSAGES Complete understanding of spondyloarthritis pathophysiology requires insights into inflammation, bone destruction and bone formation, which are all located in entheses and lead all together to ankylosis and functional disability. Several factors probably play a role in the pathogenesis of bone formation in entheses including not only cytokines but also several systemic factors such as adipokines and gut hormones, and local factors, such as BMP and Wnt signaling, as well as angiogenesis and mechanical stress. Data available about pathophysiology of new bone formation in spondyloarthritis are limited and often conflicting and future studies are needed to better delineate it and to develop new therapeutic approaches.


Spondyloarthritis; enthesis; ossification; spinal ligament

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