OBJECTIVES--To determine whether Mycobacterium tuberculosis DNA can be detected in synovial fluid of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). METHODS--The polymerase chain reaction was applied to cellular components of synovial fluid. RESULTS--No evidence of M tuberculosis DNA was found in synovial fluid from 31 patients with RA and 13 control patients. CONCLUSION--The findings do not support a role for persistent M tuberculosis infection in the pathogenesis of RA.
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