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Highly Accessed Open Badges Editorial

Autoimmunity induced by human cytomegalovirus in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus

Cecilia Söderberg-Nauclér

Author affiliations

Department of Medicine, Center for Molecular Medicine, L8:03, Karolinska Institute at Karolinska University Hospital, SE-171 76 Stockholm, Sweden

Citation and License

Arthritis Research & Therapy 2012, 14:101  doi:10.1186/ar3525

See related research by Hsieh et al.,

Published: 23 January 2012


Human cytomegalovirus is a common herpesvirus that is linked to autoimmunity, especially in genetically predisposed persons. The article by Hsieh and colleagues in a previous issue of Arthritis Research & Therapy suggests that a C-terminal peptide of the human cytomegalovirus protein pp65 is highly immunogenic in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus and that antibodies against this peptide cross-react with nuclear proteins and double-stranded DNA, which are highly frequent autoantibodies in systemic lupus erythematosus patients. These observations highlight the fact that immunization with one small cytomegalovirus-specific peptide results in multiple autoreactive antibodies, probably through molecular mimicry and epitope spreading, in genetically predisposed persons.