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Rev Infect Dis. 1991 Jul-Aug;13(4):571-82.

Rheumatoid arthritis: new findings on the failure to isolate or detect mycoplasmas by multiple cultivation or serologic procedures and a review of the literature.

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Laboratory of Mycoplasma, Food and Drug Administration, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


Using 12 different and elaborate broth, agar, and cell culture procedures, we failed to isolate mycoplasmas, ureaplasmas, spiroplasmas, or chlamydiae from the synovial fluid of 10 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and from six patients with non-rheumatoid arthritis (NRA). In addition, sera from 35 patients with RA and 12 patients with NRA also were examined. Although some of the sera had moderately high titers of metabolism-inhibiting antibody to some of the 10 human Mycoplasma species, especially to the common respiratory pathogen Mycoplasma pneumoniae, and to some of the eight Ureaplasma urealyticum serovars, especially serovars V and VII, there were no significant differences between titers of these antibodies in the two groups of patients. Among RA patients serum antibody titers to M. pneumoniae were 1:32 in five and 1:16 in eight; two patients had higher synovial fluid titers (1:16) than serum titers (1:4). The geometric mean titer (GMT) of antibody to serovar V in synovial fluid was higher in RA patients than in NRA patients, but the difference did not reach significance (P = .056). Reports on the possible role of infectious agents in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis are reviewed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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