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Epstein–Barr Virus (EBV) has been associated with development of rheumatic connective tissue diseases like rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in genetically susceptible individuals. Diagnosis of RA and SLE relies on clinical criteria in combination with the presence of characteristic autoantibodies. In addition, antibodies to several EBV antigens have been shown to be elevated in patients with these diseases compared to healthy controls (HC). Here, we elaborated improved enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays for antibodies (IgM, IgA, IgG) to the EBV proteins Epstein-Barr Virus nuclear antigen (EBNA)1 and early antigen di use (EAD) in order to determine their potential diagnostic role. We showed that especially EBNA1 IgM distinguished RA from SLE and HCs and also distinguished SLE from HCs. EBNA1 IgA was almost as e ective in di erentiating RA from SLE and HC, while EAD IgG and IgA were able to discern SLE patients from RA patients and HCs. Collectively, these findings illustrate the potential diagnostic use of antibodies to EBV proteins to diagnose RA and to di erentiate SLE from RA.

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