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  • Poster presentation
  • Open Access

A phenotypic shift after initiation of IL-1 receptor blockade in a boy with systemic juvenile arthritis

  • 1,
  • 1 and
  • 1
Pediatric Rheumatology20086 (Suppl 1) :P31

  • Published:


  • Osteoporosis
  • Methotrexate
  • Body Composition
  • Compression Fracture
  • Severe Osteoporosis

Case presentation

A boy with systemic juvenile arthritis (sJIA) for 7 years, treated with prednisone 1 mg/kg/day, NSAIDS, Methotrexate and TNF-α antagonism, presented at age 15 with severe incapacitating back pain.

Clinically, a cachectic and stunted boy, weight and height SD scores were -5,05 and -3,65 respectively. He had fever, anaemia, splenomegaly and polyartrhitis. There was complete immobility and severe pain of his lumbar spine. X-rays revealed compression fractures of all lumbar vertebrae. Bone mass densitometry confirmed severe osteoporosis (Z-score -4.5 SD). ESR: 33, Hb: 7.4 g/dl, CRP 112 mg/dl.

IL-1 receptor antagonism resulted in a rapid major improvement. Within a few weeks, there was no fever, no arthritis, no splenomegaly, with normal CRP, ESR and Haemoglobin.

Body composition changed dramatically; weight increasing by 10 kg (SDS -2,9) and body fat fraction (DEXA) from 17% to 35%, despite weaning steroids from 1 to 0,3 mg/kg/day. Bone Z-score improved to -3,3 SD.


The present case illustrates the striking effectiveness of Il-1 receptor antagonism in a patient with severe refractory sJIA, and steroid dependency (with devastating side effects, esp on bone mineralization). IL1-ra has been associated with obesity in adults [1, 2]. IL1 receptor antagonism was associated with an important change of body composition in this patient. It remains to be clarified how the interplay between inflammation, Il-1 blockade and corticosteroid therapy impacts on body composition and fat metabolism.

Authors’ Affiliations

University Hospital Leuven, Leuven, Belgium


  1. Di Renzo L: Interleukin-1 (IL-1) receptor antagonist gene polymorphism in normal weight obese syndrome: relationship to body composition and IL-1 alpha and beta plasma levels. Pharmacol Res. 2007, 55 (2): 131-8. 10.1016/j.phrs.2006.11.002.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Saltevo J: Levels of adiponectin, C-reactive protein and interleukin-1 receptor antagonist are associated with the relative change in body mass index between childhood and adulthood. Diab Vasc Dis Res. 2007, 4 (4): 328-31. 10.3132/dvdr.2007.060.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar


© Scott et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2008

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd.