DNA Viruses in Autoimmune Rheumatic Diseases

  • Lazaros I. Sakkas
  • Dimitrios P. BogdanosEmail author


Infections with DNA viruses are found in patients with autoimmune rheumatic diseases, but whether or not there is a causal link between the infectious agent and the rheumatic disease is not clear. For a few rheumatic diseases, such as polyarteritis nodosa and cryoglobulinemic vasculitis, the causal link between the disease and the virus, in these cases hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus, respectively, is obvious. In other diseases, there is more speculation rather than solid evidence that the diseases are indeed induced by a DNA virus. We must acknowledge, however, the tremendous work which is done in this field at the experimental level, either through research on experimental models of rheumatic diseases or through translational research performed in biological material obtained from patients. A significant pitfall for translational research is the inability to perform proper assessment in patients at the very early stages of the disease or even long before the disease appears as this would assist efforts to delineate the hierarchy of events leading to the induction of the disease as a consequence of viral infection. Irrespective of the pathogenic mechanisms at play between the virus and the host, an important issue is that of reactivation of the viral infection in immunosuppressed patients, especially those under biologic treatment.


Autoimmunity Cytomegalovirus Epstein-Barr virus Herpesvirus Rheumatoid arthritis Systemic lupus erythematosus 



ANCA-associated vasculitis


Anti-citrullinated protein antibody


Autoimmune rheumatic diseases


Anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody


Autoimmune rheumatic disease


Centromere protein B




Disease activity score


Drug reaction with eosinophilia and systemic syndrome


Double-stranded DNA


Epstein-Barr virus


Germinal center


Granulomatosis with polyangiitis


Hepatitis B surface antigen


Hepatitis B virus


Human herpesvirus


Human papilloma virus


Herpes simplex virus




Lupus nephritis




Peripheral blood mononuclear cells




Rheumatoid arthritis


Systemic lupus erythematosus


Sjogren’s syndrome


Systemic sclerosis


Transforming growth factor


Tumor necrosis factor


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, School of Health SciencesUniversity of ThessalyLarissaGreece

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