Natural History and Development of Spondyloarthritis

Purpose and Objective

Spondylosis X-RayThe purpose of this protocol is to study the natural history of spondyloarthritis (SpA) in children and adults. Spondyloarthritis encompasses a spectrum of immune-mediated inflammatory diseases that exhibit overlapping features, but differ from other types of inflammatory arthritis in genetic predisposition, pathogenesis, and outcome.

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS), the most common form of SpA, frequently begins in an undifferentiated form with back pain and stiffness in adults, and leads to aberrant ossification and ankylosis (fusion) of the spine. In children, SpA rarely presents with back pain, but instead often begins with pain and stiffness in the hips and knees due to arthritis.

Enthesitis, or inflammation where tendons and ligaments connect to bones, is more common in children. Our ability to recognize early forms of AS involving the axial skeleton, particularly in children, and our understanding of the cause and progression of this disease, is limited. Objectives:To identify symptoms and medical tests that can help determine whether a person with SpA is at risk for developing more severe forms of the disease.

Condition: spondyloarthritis

Clinical Trial Sponsor

This clinical trial is sponsored by National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS).

Recruiting Location (United States)

National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, 9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland, United States, 20892
Contact: For more information at the NIH Clinical Center contact Patient Recruitment and Public Liaison Office (PRPL)    800-411-1222 ext TTY8664111010

Eligibility, Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria


Subjects with known or suspected SpA will provide informed consent and then be evaluated either in the outpatient or inpatient unit of the NIH Clinical Center. To be eligible for follow-up visits patients must meet the Inclusion Criteria, but not the Exclusion criteria. Subjects determined to not have SpA will not be followed.

Patients with signs and symptoms of SpA will be classified as outlined in #1 and #2 below (see Appendix 10.1 for Classification Criteria):

  1. Patients less than 16 years of age will be considered to have SpA if they meet the ILAR criteria for ERA (without or with psoriasis or a positive family history of psoriasis), or modified NY criteria for AS.
  2. Patients 16 years of age or older will be considered to have SpA if they have previously met ILAR criteria for ERA, or currently meet ESSG or Amor criteria for USpA, ASAS criteria for Axial SpA, or modified NY criteria for AS.
  3. Family members of individuals included under items 1 and 2. Family members will not be asked to submit to bone marrow aspiration or interruption of therapy.
  4. Controls for clinical, cellular, molecular, and biochemical assays, and genetic evaluation will be enrolled. Individuals who undergo phlebotomy specifically to provide a control specimen will be 6 years of age or older, and not pregnant.
  5. Minor healthy volunteers undergoing imaging (SI and/or WB MRI) must be old enough to complete the procedure without sedation. Generally this requires that they be at least 6 years of age, so no healthy volunteers under age 6 will be enrolled.


  1. Inability to provide informed consent or, in the case of minors, unavailability of a parent or guardian.
  2. Presence of any medical condition that would, in the opinion of the investigators, confuse the interpretation of the study.
  3. Unavailability, or inability to comply with the schedule for follow-up visits.

* Additional inclusion/exclusion criteria apply. Please consult with your physician to review the complete eligibility criteria.


Updated on: 10/01/15