Synovial fibroblast cell strains derived from the synovial membranes of 7 patients with rheumatoid arthritis were examined for the presence of viruses, in particular leucoviruses. Seven similar synovial strains derived from patients with other arthritic conditions were used as a control group. Evidence of the presence of a virus or a viral genome was looked for by several methods of induction followed by 3H-uridine labelling of the cultures. In addition, the culture supernatant, after induction and after the synovial strains had been co-cultivated with a variety of cell lines from several species, was assayed for the presence of viral RNA-dependent DNA polymerase activity. The DNA-polymerase activity of the synovial cells themselves was also determined. No evidence was found by any of these techniques to indicate the presence of virus or viral information within the synovial fibroblasts.
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