A Mimic of Ankylosing Spondylitis, Ochronosis: Case Report and Review of the Literature.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Ochronosis and alkaptonuria are manifestations of the same condition-a rare autosomal recessive disorder resulting from a constitutional lack of homogentisate 1,2-dioxygenase (HGD) with the consequent accumulation of homogentisic acid (HGA). In ochronosis, HGA undergoes autoxidation as well as enzymatic oxidation to form an ochronotic pigment that accumulates in cartilage and connective tissues. In the beginning, there is homogentisic aciduria and pigmentation of cartilages and other connective tissues. In later years, generalized osteoarthritis of the spine and large joints, termed ochronotic arthropathy, develops. RECENT FINDINGS: The diagnosis is confirmed by quantitative measurement of HGA in urine and mutation analysis of the HGD gene. One of the differential diagnoses for the skin findings is exogenous ochronosis, a limited hyperpigmentation of skin caused by some chemicals. As for the lumbar spine findings, there can be radiographic similarities with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) including reduced intervertebral disc spaces and loss of lumbar lordosis; however, ochronosis will spare the sacroiliac joint, and the lumbar spine will show dense, wafer-like disk calcification with a vacuum disc phenomenon and broad syndesmophytes. Here, we present a case of a patient with probable ochronosis that was treated many years as ankylosing spondylitis without response, and we provide a review of the current literature on ochronosis pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment.
Chu, P; Cuellar, MC; Bracken, SJ; Tarrant, TK
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