Background: AA amyloidosis is a systemic disease characterized by the extracellular deposition of amyloid fibrils derived from the acute-phase reactant serum amyloid A protein. It is typically a consequence of chronic inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or Crohn's disease, although more patients are being identified who have more unusual causes or no known inflammatory stimulus.
Methods: We performed a retrospective chart review of all patients with AA amyloidosis seen at Mount Sinai during the period of 1997-2012. Particular attention was paid to the patients' underlying diseases, extent of organ involvement, levels of inflammatory markers and proinflammatory cytokines, presence of pyrin gene mutations, and outcomes.
Results: Forty-three patients were seen at Mount Sinai with AA amyloidosis during this period. The most common underlying diseases were rheumatoid arthritis (21%) and Crohn's disease (16%), though 21% of patients were considered to have idiopathic AA amyloid after an extensive search found no underlying inflammatory disease. Almost all patients (95%) had renal involvement based on biopsy or clinical criteria, with 19 patients (44%) eventually requiring dialysis and 5 (12%) undergoing renal transplantation. Inflammatory markers were elevated in most patients; however, interleukin-6 was the only consistently elevated cytokine. Three patients (of 9 tested) were found to be positive for the E148Q pyrin gene mutation.
Conclusions: Our study confirms the increasing number of patients being seen with idiopathic AA amyloidosis. More research is needed to determine if these patients have an underlying genetic susceptibility encoded in pyrin or other genes. Our study also confirms the dominance of renal disease in this population. The elevated levels of interleukin-6, in comparison with other cytokines, could represent a therapeutic target.
© 2012 Mount Sinai School of Medicine.