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Clin Exp Rheumatol. 1997 Jul-Aug;15(4):405-9.

Human cytomegalovirus infection and systemic lupus erythematosus.

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National Blood Service, Bristol Centre, UK.



Viruses are considered possible aetiologic agents of autoimmune disease. Evidence suggests that human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) may be a pathogenetic factor in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). We undertook a seroepidemiological study to determine whether HCMV infection is increased in patients with SLE.


Sero-epidemiologic data, indicative of virus prevalence, were obtained by enzyme immunoassay.


Eighty-eight of 97 serum samples (90.7%) taken from adult patients with SLE were seropositive for HCMV. By contrast, HCMV was detected in only 32 of 50 (64.0%) adult patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and 42 of 97 (43.3%) normal controls. The odds ratio for HCMV prevalence in SLE/normal controls was 14.53 (95% CI is 6.39 to 33.04). For comparison, data for herpes simplex virus-I (HSV-I) seropositivity were obtained from the same three groups. Seventy-eight patients with SLE (80.4%), 40 patients with RA (80.0%) and 57 normal controls (58.8%) were seropositive for this closely-related herpesvirus.


The data shows a specific and highly significant association between infection with HCMV and a clinical diagnosis of SLE.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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