Definition: arthritis of the spine, resembling rheumatoid arthritis, which may progress to bony ankylosis with ossification of the anterior and posterior longitudinal ligaments; the disease is more common in males, often with the rheumatoid factor absent and the HLA antigen present. There is a striking association with the B27 tissue type and the strong familial aggregation suggests an important genetic factor, perhaps inherited as an autosomal dominant [MIM*106300]; the mechanism, however, remains obscure.
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