Systemic lupus erythematosus in adults is associated with previous Epstein-Barr virus exposure

J A James, B R Neas, K L Moser, T Hall, G R Bruner, A L Sestak, J B Harley
Arthritis and Rheumatism 2001, 44 (5): 1122-6

OBJECTIVE: The possible molecular mimicry of the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) peptide PPPGRRP by the peptide PPPGMRPP from Sm B'/B of the human spliceosome is consistent with the possibility that EBV infection is related to the origin of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in some patients. Association of EBV exposure with SLE was therefore tested for and subsequently found in children and adolescents (odds ratio [OR] 49.9, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 9.3-1,025, P < 10(-11)). These results were confirmed at the level of EBV DNA (OR > 10, 95% CI 2.53-infinity, P < 0.002). Much smaller seroconversion rate differences were found against 4 other herpes viruses. Herein, we extend these studies to adults and test the hypothesis that EBV infection is associated with adult SLE.

METHODS: We selected 196 antinuclear antibody-positive adult SLE patients (age > or =20 years) and 2 age-, race-, and sex-matched controls per patient. SLE patients and matched controls were tested for evidence of previous infection with EBV, cytomegalovirus (CMV), herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2 (HSV-1 and HSV-2), or varicella-zoster virus (VZV) by standardized enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays.

RESULTS: Of the 196 lupus patients tested, all but 1 had been exposed to EBV, while 22 of the 392 controls did not have antibodies consistent with previous EBV exposure (OR 9.35, 95% CI 1.45-infinity, P = 0.014). No differences were observed between SLE patients and controls in the seroconversion rate against CMV, HSV-2, or VZV.

CONCLUSION: These new data from adults, along with the many suggestive features of EBV infection, are consistent with the contribution of this infection to the etiology of SLE.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Trending Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"