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Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease, which has been associated with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection. Drug-induced lupus (DIL) is a lupus-like disease caused by the intake of therapeutic drugs, which has been estimated to cause approximately 10-15% of lupus-like cases. Although SLE and DIL share common clinical symptoms, there are some fundamental differences between DIL and SLE onset. Moreover, it remains to be examined whether environmental factors, such as EBV and CMV infections, may contribute to the development of DIL. This study focused on examining the possible association between DIL and EBV and CMV infections, by examining IgG titers to EBV and CMV antigens in serum samples by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Antibody titers to EBV early antigen-diffuse and CMV pp52 were found to be significantly elevated in both SLE and DIL patients compared to healthy controls, although no correlation was found for antibodies to the two virus antigens in the respective disease groups. Moreover, total IgG titers were reduced in SLE and DIL serum samples, which may reflect a general lymphocytopenia, which commonly is associated with SLE. The current findings support that EBV and CMV infections may contribute to the development of DIL and that onset of both diseases are related.

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Epstein–Barr virus, antibodies, cytomegalovirus, drug-induced lupus, systemic lupus erythematosus, Humans, Herpesvirus 4, Human, Cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr Virus Infections, Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic, Cytomegalovirus Infections, Antibodies, Viral, Immunoglobulin G