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A possible decline in the incidence and severity of Behçet's disease: implications for an infectious etiology and oral health



2010 Vol.28, N°4 ,Suppl.60
PI 0086, PF 0090

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PMID: 20868578 [PubMed]

Received: 24/01/2010
Accepted : 26/03/2010
In Press: 24/09/2010
Published: 24/09/2010


Behçet`s disease (BD) is a systemic and inflammatory disorder mainly present along the ancient Silk Road, from the Mediterranean to East Asia. A wide range of prevalence figures (0.1–420/100.000) are reported for BD, also among populations of similar ethnicity living in different countries. Recently, a decline of the incidence of BD and a change of the disease spectrum to less severe mucocutaneous manifestations is reported from Japan, a genetically homogenous, affluent population with limited immigration. Among environmental factors, a change in atopy/allergic disorders and a decline in infections are two possible mechanisms for this epidemiological change. A shift in Th1/Th2 immune balance towards Th2-associated immune responses are possible, however `hygiene hypothesis` associated with this approach does not explain the recent trend of the increase in Th1-associated disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease and multiple sclerosis in Western Countries. We hypothesise that a decline in oral infections, associated with the improvement in oral health in Japan, could be behind this decline. Better epidemiological studies in other populations will show whether this decline is a worldwide trend and may provide a better understanding of the environmental factors associated with the onset or relapses of BD, leading a way to new therapeutic approaches.

Rheumatology Article