Correlation between systemic lupus erythematosus and cytomegalovirus infection detected by different methods.Clin Rheumatol. 2015 Apr; 34(4):691-8.CR
Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), a β-herpes virus subfamily member, leads to a lifelong, latent infection in most humans, but the correlation between HCMV infection and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) remains controversial. We analyzed the relevance of HCMV infection in SLE by analyzing the peripheral blood leukocytes (PBLs) and serum samples of 60 patients with SLE and 111 healthy individuals. HCMV genes UL55 and UL138 were detected in PBLs by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and HCMV-specific serum IgG and IgM antibodies were investigated by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The relationship between cellular HCMV infection in PBLs and common clinical indicators of SLE was further explored. Data indicated that the frequency of positive IgG and IgM anti-CMV antibodies was not significantly different in SLE patients and controls. However, compared to the healthy controls, the titers of IgG and IgM anti-CMV antibodies in SLE patients were significantly higher. The detection of cellular HCMV infection showed that almost all subjects were positive for UL138 gene in PBLs, but the positivity for UL55 gene was lower in PBLs. HCMV UL138 detection in PBLs was highly consistent with the frequency of the HCMV-specific IgG test and did not show significant difference in SLE patients and healthy controls. However, compared with that in healthy people, the positivity rate for cellular HCMV UL55 detection was significantly higher in SLE patients (P < 0.001). In addition, cellular HCMV UL55 with positive detection in PBLs was associated with significantly different clinical characteristics of SLE than that with negative detection. In conclusion, our data confirmed that the HCMV infection was related to the development of SLE. Especially, some clinical strains or substrains of HCMV, such as containing the UL55 gene in HCMV's genome, might play a vital role in the development of SLE.