Recent therapeutic advances, in particular the use of anti-tumour necrosis factor (anti-TNF) agents, have revived interest in the seronegative spondyloarthropathies (SpA), a group of arthritides characterised by axial skeletal involvement and the absence of rheumatoid factor. The purpose of this article is to review the studies that have been done in the Asia Pacific region, as a broad understanding of the scope and severity of this group of diseases would enable rheumatologists and physicians in this part of the world to better manage their patients. The majority of genetic studies have focused on the associations of HLA-B27 with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and SpA, while a few studies examined the associations of the CARD, IL-1, LMP2, TAP and TGF with AS. There are a handful of studies on the immunological responses to bacteria and cytokine levels in AS. The onset and clinical features of SpA have been reported from most countries in the region, but no data on patient outcomes, using current measurement tools such as the Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity index (BASDAI), is available. Validation of these instruments of measurement as well as classification criteria in different ethnic populations is necessary where no prior data exist. Future studies will likely be focused on better clinical characterisation of patient cohorts, particularly with regard to the use of currently used measurement tools for disease activity and spinal function and mobility, and the identification of the need for biologic therapy in each country.
Seronegative spondyloarthropathies (SpA), a group of arthritides characterised by axial skeletal involvement and the absence of rheumatoid factor, are now enjoying a resurgence of research interest due to recent therapeutic advances. With the availability of anti-tumour necrosis factor (anti-TNF) agents, the short-term improvement in patient outcome in terms of symptom relief, reduction of inflammation and retardation of radiological deterioration has been impressive. However, their cost prohibits their use in many patients in the Asia Pacific region. Thus, it is important to have a broad understanding of the scope and severity of this group of diseases in this region, so as to enable rheumatologists and physicians to better manage their patients. The purpose of this article is therefore to review the studies that have been performed on this group of diseases in the Asia Pacific region.
This article is available only as a PDF. Please click on “Download PDF” to view the full article.