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This could be why your joints hurt if you have Crohn’s disease

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Arthritis linked to bacteria in Crohn's disease sufferers

New research has uncovered a link between Crohn’s disease and arthritis that can cause joint pain for those affected with the inflammatory bowel disease.


The particular type of pain that was uncovered by researchers is spondyloarthritis that affects the spine and the joints.

The finding, published February 8th 2017 in the journal Science Translational Medicine, can help people with the autoimmune disease understand that their symptoms of joint and spine pain are related to Crohn’s disease.

Symptoms of spondyloarthritis can be varied and confusing. It's possible to experience any of the following:

  • Back pain
  • Pain in the joints in the arms and legs
  • Spondyloarthritis can also inflame the eyes, affect the skin and intestines

Crohn's disease bacteria triggers inflammation

The connection between Crohn’s disease and arthritis was uncovered by researchers after they identified a particular type of bacteria that triggers inflammation and arthritis pain. Researchers isolated a particular type of E coli and found it was coated with antibiotic called immunoglobulins or IGA that help fight infection.

People with Crohn’s disease and spondyloarthritis were found to have high amounts of antibody-coated E. coli.

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Researchers were further able to link the bacteria to cells that help control inflammation called Th17 cells.

The finding was the result of collaboration from several research centers including the Jill Roberts Center for inflammatory bowel disease at New York-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell medicine and the Jill Roberts Institute for research in inflammatory bowel disease at Weill Cornell medicine in addition to microbiologist at Cornell University and rheumatologist at hospital for special surgery.

Dr. Randy Longman at Weill Cornell Medicine who led the study says the finding means there is a way to help Crohn's disease and spondyloarthritis with the drug usetikinumab that was recently approved by the FDA.

"The findings may help physicians select therapies that target symptoms of both the bowels and the joints in these patients", Longman said in a media release.

Co-author Dr. Kenneth Simpson, professor of small animal medicine at the College of Veterinary Medicine, whose laboratory identified the character of E.coli with coating says special technology used to study the bacteria in fecal samples in patients and in mice allows researchers to understand more about how bacteria interact with the body.

He adds it is a step toward "precision medicine".

“If we can block the ability of bacteria to induce inflammation, we may be able to kick Crohn’s disease and spondyloarthritis into remission.”



Inflammation is the major symptom, coping up with the pain through therapies.. and medication.. may help to some extent.