Background: Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) infection has been associated with the Rheumatoid
Arthritis (RA) etiopathology, thus, considering it a relevant etiological agent in the disease development.
We have previously observed the Hyaluronic Acid (HA) serum increase in active RA patients
(DAS 28-4 > 2.6) which might be responsible for the erythrocyte deformability, estimated by the
erythrocyte Rigidity Index (RI).
Objective: In the present study, we analyzed in one hundred RA patients if anti-EBV serum antibodies
(TsEBV) and HA and RI levels are related with the disease activity.
Results: [HA] s [[controls]]: 20.0 ± 9; [HA] s [[AR]]: 155.8 ± 44 (p< 0.00001 vs. controls (n:40). Antibodies
anti-EBV (1/ TsEBV) [[controls]]: 2.55 ± 0.49; [[RA]]: 1.85 ± 0.35 (p< 0.00001 vs. controls).
There were significant correlations between DAS 28-4 vs. log2 1/TsEBV (r: 0.70, p < 0.00001) and
DAS 28-4 vs. RI (r: 0.75, p < 0.00001) in active RA patients. However, we observed a strong positive
correlation between [HA] s in active RA patients vs. log2 1/TsEBV (r: 0.83, p < 0.00001) and [HA] s
vs. RI (r: 0.91, p < 0.00001).
Conclusion: The correlation obtained points out that the TsEBV may be related with the degree of
RA activity determined by DAS28-4 and [HA]s in these patients. There was also a decrease in erythrocyte
deformability estimated as RI, which is correlated with the DAS 28-4 activity index. Therefore,
RI can be used as a reliable marker of RA activity. These findings might suggest a role of EBV infection
regarding an autoimmune mechanism present in RA.