There is disagreement in the current evidence for viral aetiologies in the pathogenesis of Behçet's disease (BD).
To investigate the presence of B19 DNA in skin lesions of patients with BD, compare with the skin of healthy controls and evaluate its role in the pathogenesis.
In total, 40 patients diagnosed with BD according to the criteria proposed by the International Study Group for Behçet's Disease and routinely followed up at our centre were enrolled into the study. All the patients selected were in the active phase of disease. Skin and blood samples of patients with BD and of the healthy volunteers were examined for B19 serology, histopathology and genome expression.
The quantity of B19 DNA in nonulcerative BD lesions of was significantly different from ulcerative lesions in the study group and from the skin of the healthy controls (P < 0.01). For the nonulcerative lesions, real-time PCR analysis for B19 DNA was found to be 64% sensitive (95% CI 42.5-82.0) and 85% specific (95% CI 62.1-96.6) with a cut-off value of > 154 IU/mL (P < 0.001).
To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study that provides evidence for a possible causal link between BD and parvovirus B19, and our data suggest the presence of the virus, particularly in intact, nonulcerative skin lesions of BD. Limitations to this study include the limited number of participants, and the fact that the exact source of B19 DNA was undetected.