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Science / Medicine : Arthritis-Lyme Disease Link

IN BRIEF

July 30, 1990|Compiled from Times staff and wire reports

Certain people appear to be genetically susceptible to developing chronic arthritis from Lyme disease that does not respond to treatment, researchers reported last week in the New England Journal of Medicine.

A high proportion of people who develop long-term Lyme disease-induced arthritis have proteins known as antigens in their blood that act as genetic markers indicating a high susceptibility to arthritis, said Dr. Allen Steere, director of the Lyme Disease Clinic at the New England Medical Center in Boston.

In a study of 80 people with Lyme disease arthritis, Steere and his colleagues found that 25 of 28 patients, or 89%, whose arthritis had lasted between one and four years had one or both of the genetic markers known as HLA-DR4 and HLA-DR2. By contrast, only six of 22 people, or 27%, with arthritis lasting between one to five months had the markers.

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