OBJECTIVES--To determine whether the Epstein-Barr virus is present in synovial membranes and subcutaneous nodules of patients with rheumatoid arthritis. METHODS--A sensitive in situ hybridisation technique was applied to tissue sections of 11 synovial membranes and five rheumatoid nodules. RESULTS--Cells carrying the Epstein-Barr virus were not detected using EBER and BHLF1 oligonucleotides in the tissue samples investigated here. CONCLUSIONS--Although it has been suggested that the Epstein-Barr virus could play a part in the aetiology of rheumatoid arthritis, it was not detected in synovial membranes and subcutaneous lesions in this study.
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