A progressive arthropathy develops commonly in haemophiliacs and its pathogenesis is not fully understood. Human parvovirus B19 has been associated with several diseases including acute and chronic arthropathy and some studies suggest its implication in chronic inflammatory diseases of the joints such as rheumatoid arthritis. In haemophiliacs parvovirus B19 infection occurs very frequently because of its transmission with plasma derivatives. In order to assess a role of B19 virus in haemophilic arthritis, synovial tissue samples from patients with haemophilia with arthritis and from patients, nonhaemophiliacs, with arthrosis or with joint trauma were examined for B19 DNA by nested PCR. In addition, the prevalence of antibody to parvovirus B19 NS1 protein as a possible serological marker of persistent B19 infection was tested and the association of the outcome of parvovirus infection with genetic diversity of B19 P6 promoter sequences was investigated. B19 DNA was detected in the synovial tissue of 31% of haemophiliacs with progressive arthropathy and of 5% of control patients. Fourteen out of 17 patients (82%) with haemophilic arthritis and with B19 DNA in their synovial membranes had IgG antibodies against the nonstructural protein NS1 of parvovirus B19. On the other hand, 19% of patients with haemophilia with B19 PCR negative synovial tissue and 21% of controls showed anti-NS1 antibodies. The P6 promoter presented specific sites of point mutations shared frequently by isolates from patients with haemophilia and arthritis. These results indicate that B19 DNA can persist in the synovial membranes of patients with haemophilic arthritis significantly more frequently in comparison to control individuals with arthrosis or joint trauma and show a correlation between anti- NS1 antibody presence and B19 DNA persistence in the synovial tissue.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.