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Rubella Antibodies, Liver Disease, and Renal Transplantation

W. Thomas London, MD
Arch Intern Med. 1979;139(1):27. doi:10.1001/archinte.1979.03630380015008.
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In recent years, elevated antibody levels to measles and rubella viruses have been found in diseases that have no apparent relation to measles or rubella infections. These include chronic active hepatitis, systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, Reiter's syndrome, and infectious mononucleosis.1-3 No satisfactory explanation of these elevated antibody titers has been offered.

In this issue of the Archives (p 33), Luby et al report that 18 of 52 consecutive renal transplant patients had hemagglutination inhibition antibody titers to rubella virus ≥1:128 on at least one determination during the posttransplant period. These 18 patients differed from the other 34 who had lesser or no rises in antibody titer in that nine of the 18 had acute hepatitis (hepatitis B surface antigen negative), and six of these nine continued on to some form of chronic liver disease. In addition, these 18 patients suffered more late graft rejection episodes, with six requiring


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