Do geography and ethnicity play a role in juvenile Spondyloarthritis? A multi-center binational retrospective study

Nassem Ghantous, Merav Heshin-Bekenstein, Kimberly Dequattro, Yaniv Lakovsky, Amir Moshe Hendel, Nadav Rappoport, Yonatan Butbul Aviel, Irit Tirosh, Liora Harel, Pamela F. Weiss, Lianne Gensler, John Mackenzie, Gil Amarilyo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Observations among Israeli pediatric rheumatologists reveal that pediatric Juvenile Spondyloarthritis (JSpA) may present differently compared to patients from the United States (US). This study is aimed to compare the demographic and clinical variables of Israeli and US JSpA patients upon presentation. Methods: We performed a retrospective, cross-sectional, multicenter comparison of JSpA patients among 3 large Israeli pediatric rheumatology centers and a large US pediatric rheumatology center. Patients with diagnosis of Juvenile Ankylosing Spondylitis (JAS) and/or Enthesitis-related Arthritis (ERA) were included. The demographic, clinical and radiologic features were compared. Results: Overall 87 patients were included (39 Israeli, 48 US patients). Upon presentation, inflammatory back pain, sacroiliac joint tenderness and abnormal modified Schober test, were significantly more prevalent among Israeli patients (59% vs. 35.4, 48.7% vs. 16.7, and 41.2% vs. 21.5%, respectively, all p < 0.05), whereas peripheral arthritis and enthesitis were significantly more prevalent among US patients (43.6% vs. 91.7 and 7.7% vs. 39.6% in Israeli patients vs. US patients, p < 0.05). In addition, 96.7% of the Israeli patients versus 29.7% of the US patients demonstrated sacroiliitis on MRI (p < 0.001, N = 67). Less than one-third of the Israeli patients (32%) were HLA-B27 positive vs. 66.7% of US patients (p = 0.007). Conclusion: Israeli children with JSpA presented almost exclusively with axial disease compared to US patients who were more likely to present with peripheral symptoms. HLA B27 prevalence was significantly lower in the Israeli cohort compared to the US cohort. Further studies are needed to unravel the genetic and possibly environmental factors associated with these findings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4
JournalPediatric Rheumatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Enthesitis related arthritis
  • HLA B27
  • Juvenile Sacroiliitis
  • Juvenile Spondyloarthritis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology and Allergy


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