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Int J Rheum Dis. 2015 May;18(4):452-8. doi: 10.1111/1756-185X.12261. Epub 2013 Dec 16.

Real-Time PCR of cytomegalovirus and Epstein-Barr virus in adult Egyptian patients with systemic lupus erythematosus.

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Department of Physical Medicine, Rheumatology and Rehabilitation, Faculty of Medicine, Suez Canal University, Ismailia, Egypt.
Department of Clinical and Chemical Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Suez Canal University, Ismailia, Egypt.
Department of Dermatology and Venereology, Faculty of Medicine, Suez Canal University, Ismailia, Egypt.
Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, Suez Canal University, Ismailia, Egypt.



Infections may act as environmental triggers for induction of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). We sought to explore the relative frequencies of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and human cytomegalovirus (CMV) in adult Egyptian patients with SLE and their correlation with disease activity and damage.


Thirty-three consecutive adult patients satisfying the 1997 American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Classification Criteria for SLE and 30 healthy controls were included in this case-control study. All patients were subjected to complete clinical and laboratory evaluation to determine the Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI) and the Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics/American College of Rheumatology Damage Index (SLICC/ACR). Sera from both groups were analyzed for immunoglobulin M (IgM) and IgG antibodies against CMV and EBV. Qualitative real time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for both viruses was performed for all SLE patients.


Almost all SLE patients 32/33 (96.9%) were positive for IgG anti-CMV antibodies versus 20/30 in the control group (66.6%) (P = 0.002). All SLE patients were positive for IgG anti-EBV antibodies compared to 25 in the control group (100% vs. 83.3%, P = 0.02). CMV and EBV DNA were detected by PCR in 30.3% and 51.5% of SLE patients, respectively. A statistically significant lower SLEDAI was found in PCR positive patients for EBV compared to negative patients (9.6 ± 5.2 vs. 13.1 ± 3.1, respectively P = 0.041).


Adult Egyptian patients with SLE had higher frequencies of anti-CMV and EBV IgG compared to healthy controls. Furthermore, our single point assessment of SLEDAI suggested that exposure to EBV infection might be associated with a lower disease activity.


Epstein-Barr virus; cytomegalovirus; real-time PCR; serology; systemic lupus erythematosus

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