Autoimmune response to U1 small nuclear ribonucleoprotein (U1 snRNP) associated with cytomegalovirus infection

Arthritis Res. 2001;3(4):253-8. doi: 10.1186/ar310. Epub 2001 Apr 26.


The induction of autoantibodies to U1 small nuclear ribonucleoprotein (U1 snRNP) complexes is not well understood. We present evidence that healthy individuals with cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection have an increased frequency and quantity of antibodies to ribonucleoprotein, directed primarily against the U1-70k protein. A significant association between the presence of antibodies to CMV and antibodies to the total RNP targeted by the immune response to the spliceosome (to both the Sm and RNP; Sm/RNP) was found for patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) but not those with mixed connective-tissue disease. CMV thus may play a role in inducing autoimmune responses in a subset of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • Autoantibodies / blood
  • Autoimmunity / immunology*
  • Cytomegalovirus / immunology
  • Cytomegalovirus / isolation & purification
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / blood
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / immunology*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / blood
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology
  • Middle Aged
  • Mixed Connective Tissue Disease / blood
  • Mixed Connective Tissue Disease / immunology
  • Ribonucleoprotein, U1 Small Nuclear / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Autoantibodies
  • Ribonucleoprotein, U1 Small Nuclear