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Nature. 1989 Jan 19;337(6204):288-90.

Absence of significant RNA-dependent DNA polymerase activity in lymphocytes from patients with Kawasaki syndrome.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Hawaii, John A. Burns School of Medicine, Honolulu 96826.


Kawasaki syndrome, an acute febrile multisystem illness of young children, is a panvasculitis with prominent rheumatic features. Arthritis and pancarditis are frequent during the acute stage; coronary artery aneurysms occur in 20% of cases and the disease is now the leading cause of acquired heart disease in childhood. A microbial aetiology is suggested by the acute febrile self-limited character of the disease, the regular occurrence of epidemic outbreaks at intervals of 2-3 years, and the virtual restriction to young children, consistent with the early acquisition of immunity. Reports of elevated DNA polymerase activity (assumed to be RNA-dependent reverse transcriptase) in cultured lymphocytes from patients with acute Kawasaki syndrome suggest that a retrovirus might be the causative agent. We have measured supernatant DNA polymerase activity in lymphocyte cultures from 49 Hawaiian patients in acute and convalescent stages of Kawasaki syndrome and have been unable to demonstrate significant reverse transcriptase activity or other evidence of involvement of a retrovirus in the aetiology of the disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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