Chronic acquired immunodeficiency syndrome-associated arthritis: a synovial ultrastructural study

Arthritis Rheum. 1990 Feb;33(2):268-73. doi: 10.1002/art.1780330217.


We describe a patient who developed acquired immunodeficiency syndrome-related complex, complicated by chronic, symmetric polyarthritis. Synovial biopsy showed large areas of plasma cell infiltration subjacent to the synovial lining. Ultrastructural study demonstrated tubuloreticular structures within endothelial cells, crystal-like inclusions in plasma cells, and virus-like particles located around synoviocyte fragments. Although immunologic and morphologic studies did not permit classification of these virus-like structures, the role of these possible virions in the pathogenesis of the observed synovitis remains to be determined. Surprisingly, the patient's chronic arthritis resolved with anti-retroviral treatment (azidothymidine: AZT).

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • AIDS-Related Complex / diagnosis
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / complications*
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Adult
  • Arthritis / complications*
  • Arthritis / drug therapy
  • Arthritis / pathology
  • Biopsy
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • HIV Antibodies / analysis
  • HIV-1 / immunology
  • Humans
  • Synovial Membrane / ultrastructure*
  • Zidovudine / therapeutic use


  • HIV Antibodies
  • Zidovudine