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J R Soc Med. 1990 May; 83(5): 312–314.
PMCID: PMC1292651

Is there an allergic synovitis?


Nine patients had attacks of joint pain and sometimes swelling precipitated by certain foods or associated with allergic manifestations. All were atopic subjects--three having strong evidence of Type I (immediate) allergy and three 'urticarial arthralgia', in which attacks of severe urticaria and joint pain occurred coincidentally. Food allergy appeared to be responsible for the joint symptoms in three patients and in one it was possible to precipitate swelling of a knee due to synovitis with effusion by drinking milk a few hours beforehand, the synovial fluid having mildly inflammatory features and a relatively high eosinophil count. It seems that allergy is an occasional cause of episodic rheumatic pain or synovitis in certain atopic patients, whether or not they have an underlying arthritis. These are usually Type I hypersensitivity reactions, though it is thought that some food-allergic reactions are immune complex-mediated.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Golding D. Allergy to insect stings. J R Soc Med. 1985 Sep;78(9):788–788. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Pasero G, Olivieri I, Gemignani G, Vitali C. Urticaria/arthritis syndrome: report of four B51 positive patients. Ann Rheum Dis. 1989 Jun;48(6):508–511. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Parke AL, Hughes GR. Rheumatoid arthritis and food: a case study. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981 Jun 20;282(6281):2027–2029. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Little CH, Stewart AG, Fennessy MR. Platelet serotonin release in rheumatoid arthritis: a study in food-intolerant patients. Lancet. 1983 Aug 6;2(8345):297–299. [PubMed]
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  • Panush RS, Stroud RM, Webster EM. Food-induced (allergic) arthritis. Inflammatory arthritis exacerbated by milk. Arthritis Rheum. 1986 Feb;29(2):220–226. [PubMed]
  • Welsh CJ, Hanglow AC, Conn P, Barker TH, Coombs RR. Early rheumatoid-like synovial lesions in rabbits drinking cow's milk. I. Joint pathology. Int Arch Allergy Appl Immunol. 1985;78(2):145–151. [PubMed]

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