Chronic inflammation in FMF: markers, risk factors, outcomes and therapy

Nat Rev Rheumatol. 2011 Feb;7(2):105-12. doi: 10.1038/nrrheum.2010.181. Epub 2010 Nov 9.


Familial Mediterranean fever (FMF) is the most common of the hereditary periodic fever syndromes. Although the typical clinical course of FMF is characterized by bouts of painful inflammation, this presentation represents only the tip of the iceberg. In many patients inflammation can persist in attack-free periods, as shown by high levels of acute-phase proteins, cytokines and inflammation-induced proteins. This subclinical inflammation puts patients at risk of developing complications such as anemia, splenomegaly, decreased bone mineral density, heart disease and life-threatening amyloid A amyloidosis, among others. In this article, we review the published data on markers and other factors involved in the persistence of inflammation in patients with FMF during attack-free periods, examine the risk factors for the development of this subclinical inflammation, summarize the complications of chronic inflammation in FMF and propose a new strategy for treatment, based on these data.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Chronic Disease
  • Colchicine / therapeutic use
  • Familial Mediterranean Fever / blood*
  • Familial Mediterranean Fever / drug therapy
  • Gout Suppressants / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / blood
  • Risk Factors
  • Serum Amyloid A Protein / metabolism


  • Biomarkers
  • Gout Suppressants
  • Serum Amyloid A Protein
  • Colchicine