Objective: To evaluate aspects of the natural history of AA amyloidosis complicating juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA), and its response to therapy with chlorambucil.
Methods: Scintigraphy and 7-day turnover studies were performed in JRA patients with histologically proven (n = 35) or clinically suspected (n = 30) AA amyloidosis, following intravenous injection of 123I and 125I-labeled serum amyloid P component (SAP). Prospective monitoring studies were performed over 2-3 years in 20 patients with amyloidosis. All but 2 amyloidosis patients were treated with chlorambucil.
Results: Positive scanning results were obtained in all patients in whom imaging was performed within 12 years of positive biopsy findings of amyloid and in 5 patients with clinically suspected amyloidosis. Negative scanning results with normal SAP metabolism, indicating regression of amyloid, were obtained in 4 patients whose amyloidosis had been in full clinical remission for more than 12 years. Prospective monitoring studies in patients whose JRA-associated inflammatory activity was in remission demonstrated regression of amyloid in 8 patients and no substantial changes in 8 others; however, in 4 further patients with active inflammation, there was accumulation of amyloid. There was a very poor correlation between the amount of amyloid present at a particular site and the resultant organ dysfunction.
Conclusion: Radiolabeled SAP scintigraphy and turnover studies are useful complementary tools in the diagnosis, screening, and quantitative monitoring of type AA amyloidosis in JRA. The amyloid deposits may progress and/or regress at different rates in different anatomic sites over short periods.