Medline ® Abstract for Reference 72
of 'Epidemiology of, risk factors for, and possible causes of rheumatoid arthritis'
Synovial Epstein-Barr virus infection increases the risk of rheumatoid arthritis in individuals with the shared HLA-DR4 epitope.
Saal JG, Krimmel M, Steidle M, Gerneth F, Wagner S, Fritz P, Koch S, Zacher J, Sell S, Einsele H, Müller CA
Arthritis Rheum. 1999;42(7):1485.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the presence of the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) synovium and its correlation with the HLA genotype in an attempt to elucidate the role of EBV in the pathogenesis of RA.
METHODS: EBV DNA/RNA was investigated by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis of synovial tissue from 84 patients with RA and from 81 patients with non-RA arthritis (controls) and was correlated with the patients' HLA genotype.
RESULTS: EBV DNA and EBV-encoded RNA 1 transcripts were significantly more frequently present in synovial tissue from the RA patients (29 of 84) than in that from the non-RA patient controls (8 of 81). EBV DNA-positive individuals had a 5.47 times higher risk of presenting with RA than did EBV DNA-negative individuals. In HLA-DRB1*0401,0404,0405,0408-positive or shared epitope-positive patients, the risk was further increased (odds ratio for EBV and HLA-DR4 approximately 41, for EBV and the shared epitope approximately 15) compared with those who lacked both EBV DNA and RA-linked HLA genotypes.
CONCLUSION: EBV seems to function as an environmental risk factor for RA, particularly in patients with the RA-linked HLA-DRB1 alleles.
University Clinic, Tübingen, Germany.