Objective. The clinical significance of the presence of B19 DNA in patients
with SLE was studied.
Methods. Sera from 72 patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), 23
patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), 18 patients with Sjogren's syndrom
e (SS), eight patients with Raynaud's phenomenon (RP), five patients with p
rimary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), five patients with polymyositis (PM), four
patients with erythema infectiosum (EI) and 22 normal controls were examine
d for parvovirus B19 (B19) infection by serological assays, nested PCR and
Results. Parvovirus B19 DNA was detected in 17 of 72 patients with SLE and
in three of four patients with EI, but not in patients with other systemic
rheumatic diseases. Of the 17 patients with B19 DNA, only one had IgG anti-
B19 antibody and two had IgM anti-B19 antibodies, whereas IgG and IgM anti-
B19 antibodies were detected in 27 (49.1%) and 21 (38.2%) of 55 SLE patient
s without B19 DNA respectively. All sera from the patients with ET containe
d both IgG and IgM anti-B19 antibodies. B19 DNA was found more commonly in
sera from LE patients without anti-B19 antibodies than in those with anti-B
19 antibodies (P < 0.05).
Conclusions. B19 infection in patients with SLE may be due to lack of anti-
B19 antibodies because of either the immunocompromised nature of the host o
r the use of immunosuppressive drugs. There was a higher prevalence of hypo
complementaemia and RP in patients with parvovirus B19 viraemia than in tho
se without parvovirus B19 viraemia.