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Ankylosing spondylitis


* Not a rare disease
Other Names for this Disease
  • Ankylosing spondyloarthritis
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Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis of the spine. It causes swelling between the vertebrae and in the joints between the spine and pelvis. This autoimmune disease is more common and more severe in men than in women.[1][2] It is likely caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, most of which have not yet been identified. Researchers have found variations in several genes that influence the risk of developing this disorder. These genes include HLA-B, ERAP1, IL1A, and IL23R.[3] Early symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis include back pain and stiffness. These problems often start in late adolescence or early adulthood. Over time, ankylosing spondylitis can fuse the vertebrae together, limiting movement. Symptoms can worsen, improve, or stop altogether. The disease has no cure, but medicines can relieve the pain, swelling and other symptoms. Exercise can also help.[1]
Last updated: 11/25/2009


  1. Ankylosing Spondylitis. MedlinePlus. 2009; Accessed 11/25/2009.
  2. Borigini MJ. Ankylosing spondylitis. MedlinePlus. 2009; Accessed 11/25/2009.
  3. Ankylosing spondylitis. Genetics Home Reference (GHR). 2009; Accessed 11/25/2009.
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Basic Information

  • Genetics Home Reference (GHR) contains information on Ankylosing spondylitis. This website is maintained by the National Library of Medicine.
  • provides information about ankylosing spondylitis. Click on the link above to access this information.
  • MedlinePlus was designed by the National Library of Medicine to help you research your health questions, and it provides more information about this topic.
  • The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) support research into the causes, treatment, and prevention of arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases, the training of basic and clinical scientists to carry out this research, and the dissemination of information on research progress in these diseases. Click on the link to view information on this topic.
  • The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) is a federation of more than 130 nonprofit voluntary health organizations serving people with rare disorders. Click on the link to view information on this topic.

In Depth Information

  • Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. Click on the link to view this information. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
  • The Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) is an catalog of human genes and genetic disorders. Each entry has a summary of related medical articles. It is meant for health care professionals and researchers. OMIM is maintained by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 
  • Orphanet is a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs.  Access to this database is free of charge.
  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Ankylosing spondylitis. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.