Familial mediterranean fever in Ashkenazi Jews: The mild end of the clinical spectrum

Merav Lidar*, R. O.N. Kedem, Yaacov Berkun, Pnina Langevitz, A. V.I. Livneh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective. To characterize familial Mediterranean fever (FMF) in Ashkenazi patients, a Jewish subgroup in which FMF has rarely been described before. Methods. A retrospective analysis, comparing demographic, clinical, and genetic measures of the cohort of Ashkenazi Jewish patients with FMF (n = 57), followed at the National Center for FMF in Israel, to age and sex matched patients of Iraqi Jewish (n = 62) and North African Jewish (NAJ; n = 61) origin. Results. Age at disease onset and diagnosis was earlier in NAJ than among Ashkenazi and Iraqi patients. Family history of FMF was described by only 30% of Ashkenazi patients as opposed to the majority of Iraqi and NAJ patients (p = 0.001). The frequency of abdominal and febrile attacks was similar among the 3 groups, while chest and joint attacks were far less common inAshkenazi and Iraqi compared to NAJ patients. A good response to colchicine was noted in a similar proportion of Ashkenazi and Iraqi patients (82-84%) as opposed to only 56% of NAJ patients (p = 0.0001). Proteinuria, renal failure, and amyloidosis were most frequent among the NAJ patients (18, 6.6, and 9.8% compared to 5.3, 0, and 3.5% and 1.6, 0, and 0% in Ashkenazi and Iraqi patients, respectively). Conclusion. Ashkenazi patients with FMF stand at the mildest end of the clinical spectrum of FMF. This is notwithstanding the tendency for amyloidosis, the frequency of which is not trivial and which deserves particular awareness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)422-425
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Rheumatology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2010


  • Ethnic groups
  • Familial mediterranean fever


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