In order to examine the relation of Epstein-Barry virus (EBV) infection to chronic arthritis in children antibodies to EB virus capsid antigen (EBVCA) and rheumatoid arthritis nuclear antigen (RANA) were analysed in sera from 133 patients classified as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) or pauciarticular, polyarticular, or systemic juvenile chronic arthritis. Except for an increased frequency in the systemic subgroup, the prevalence of antibodies to EBVCA and titres of anti-RANA antibodies was similar in patients and controls. These data do not support an aetiological role for EBV in chronic arthritis in children, including JRA, and suggest that the mechanisms which may account for the higher titres of anti-RANA antibodies in adult RA do not occur in children.
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