A reexamination of the relationship between active rheumatoid arthritis and the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome

Matthew H. Ornstein, Leslie Dubin Kerr, Harry Spiera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations

Abstract

Three patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) that remitted with the development of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection have been described in the literature, and this has contributed to the belief that RA and HIV infection or the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) cannot coexist. However, a computerized MEDLINE literature search revealed reports of 4 patients who did have active RA and AIDS or HIV infection, as well as other case reports of symmetric polyarthritis compatible with RA in patients with HIV infection. Each of the patients whose RA remitted had received standard disease‐modifying antirheumatic drug therapy, and 1 of the 3 had a normal T helper: T suppressor ratio at the time of remission. Of the 4 previously reported patients with active RA and AIDS or HIV infection, all had decreased numbers of T helper lymphocytes. The present report describes a fifth patient with both RA and AIDS and reviews the data concerning the coexistence of these 2 diseases. It appears that active RA may indeed coexist with AIDS. It remains to be seen under what settings HIV may have a diseasemodifying effect in RA. These issues have important implications regarding the pathogenesis and therapy of RA, especially in terms of the role of CD4+ lymphocytes and anti‐CD4 monoclonal antibody therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1701-1706
Number of pages6
JournalArthritis and Rheumatology
Volume38
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1995

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