Frequency and significance of parvovirus B19 infection in patients with rheumatoid arthritis

Milda Naciute, Diana Mieliauskaite, Rita Rugiene, Rita Nikitenkiene, Ligita Jancoriene, Mykolas Mauricas, Zaiga Nora-Krukle, Modra Murovska, Irute Girkontaite

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


The present study aims to clarify the possible involvement of parvovirus B19 (B19V) infection in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) pathogenesis by investigating the presence of B19V infection markers (genomic sequences and virus-specific antibodies) in association with the level of cytokines and RA clinical activity and aggressiveness. A total of 118 RA patients and 49 ageand sex-matched healthy volunteers were enrolled in the study. Nested PCR was used to detect B19V sequences in whole blood and cell-free plasma DNA, ELISA to detect virusspecific antibodies and cytokine levels in plasma and recomLine dot blot assay for antibodies to separate B19V antigens. The detection frequency of B19V DNA was higher in patients with RA (25.4%) in comparison with healthy persons (18.4%). B19V DNA in cell-free plasma (B19+p) was detected significantly often in RA patients in comparison with healthy controls (13.6 vs 2%; P=0.0002). RA B19+p patients had higher disease activity and aggressiveness, decreased haemoglobin and increased erythrocyte sedimentation rates. IL-6 plasma levels were significantly higher in RA patients than in controls. Within the RA patients’ group the IL-6 level was significantly increased in B19+p patients with disease activity scores of DAS28>5.2, high C-reactive protein and low haemoglobin. Contrary to the healthy controls, the majority of RA B19+p patients did not have antibodies to VP-1S (VP1u) and VP-N (N-terminal half of structural proteins VP1 and VP2), which correspond to the epitopes of neutralizing antibodies. These results indicate that B19V infection at least in some patients is involved in RA pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number000621
Pages (from-to)3302-3312
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of General Virology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


  • Antibodies
  • IL-6
  • Parvovirus B19
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Field of Science*

  • 1.6 Biological sciences
  • 3.3 Health sciences

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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