1Department of Infectious Diseases, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy.
2Lupus Clinic, Rheumatology, Dipartimento di Scienze Cliniche, Internistiche, Anestesiologiche e Cardiovascolari, Sapienza Università di Roma, Italy.
3Center for Immunobiological Research and Evaluation, National Institute of Health, Rome, Italy.
4Unit of Medical Statistics and Molecular Epidemiology, University Campus Bio-Medico of Rome, Italy.
5Department of Tropical and Infectious Diseases, Aou Policlinico Umberto I, Rome, Italy.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by a multifactorial etiology. The primary aim of this study was to estimate HCV and HBV infection prevalence in a cohort of SLE and Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus (CLE). We assessed the frequency of these infections in our cohort and the possible associations with disease clinical/laboratory features and disease activity status. The prevalence of chronic HBV infection was 2.2% in the CLE group, while no HBsAg positive patients were identified in the SLE group. Conversely, the prevalence of anti-HCV positive was 2.2% in the SLE group while no anti-HCV positive patients were identified in the CLE group. We found no significant association between anti-HBc positive status and clinical manifestations or disease activity status in either group of patients. Hemodialysis resulted significantly associated with anti-HBc positivity in SLE. In the present study, we found HBsAg positivity in CLE patients but not in the Systemic form (SLE); conversely, a similar prevalence of anti-HBc antibodies in both groups was observed. A possible protective role exerted by SLE in HBV infection may be hypothesized. A higher frequency of HCV infection in SLE compared to CLE suggests a possible involvement of HCV in some SLE-related clinical and immunological features.