Introduction: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one of the most common chronic inflammatory disorders. Genes and environmental factors contribute to RA. Epstein–Barr Virus (EBV) has been considered as one the RA pathogeneses. The aim of this study was to detect of the EBV genome in patients with RA. 

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 50 samples of synovial fluid were obtained from patients with RA from 2010–2012. Using a standard of the EBV genome and EBNA-1-specific primers, the method of PCR was set up. Then, all of the samples of synovial fluids separately were subjected to DNA extraction and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) amplification. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 18.0. The statistical analysis was performed by the t-test.

Results: The demographic and laboratory characteristic assay revealed that the mean age of patients was 49, and the patients were 60% males and 40% females. In addition, in all cases, the mean rheumatoid factor (RF) levels of the patients were below the normal level. The results of this study showed that the PCR was able to detect EBV DNA in > 60% of the cases.

Conclusion: The results of this study indicated that EBV was frequently detected in the synovial fluid of RA patients. Thus, EBV may be a strong candidate that can act at several levels of the pathophysiology of RA. However, these findings also indicated that EBV may play a role in the pathogenesis of RA. However, the possible relationship between RA and EBV must be determined by further research.


Keywords: rheumatoid arthritis, EBV, EBNA-1, PCR
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