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Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 1995 Mar;106(3):235-40.

Detection of Epstein-Barr virus and cytomegalovirus genome in white blood cells from patients with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and childhood systemic lupus erythematosus.

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Department of Pediatrics, National Taiwan University College of Medicine, Taipei, Republic of China.


The role of infectious agents in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases has long been a matter of debate. This study investigated the possible role of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infections in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases by an attempt to demonstrate the presence of the viral genome in the leukocyte of 21 juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) patients, 20 childhood-onset systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients, and 20 age-matched normals, using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and DNA probes. The results showed: (1) there was no difference in serum IgG anti-EBV antibody titers among three groups; (2) the EBV PCR-positive rates for JRA and SLE patients and normal controls were 5% (1/21), 10 (2/20), and 0% (0/20), respectively; (3) the HCMV PCR-positive rates for JRA and SLE patients and normal controls were 33% (7/21), 25 (5/20), and 10% (2/20), respectively, and (4) the HCMV-positive rate was 25% for JRA patients with steroid treatment and 33% for those without steroid treatment. It is, therefore, concluded that: (1) the data do not support the participation of EBV and HCMV in the pathogenesis of childhood-onset SLE and JRA; (2) steroid therapy does not increase the frequency of HCMV infection in JRA patients, and (3) immunoincompetence might be one of the major factors contributing to increased susceptibility to HCMV infection in JRA and SLE patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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