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Cutaneous localization of the membrane attack complex in discoid and systemic lupus erythematosus



Cutaneous localization of the membrane attack complex in discoid and systemic lupus erythematosus



New England Journal of Medicine 306(5): 264-270



Biopsy specimens of skin lesions from three patients with discoid lupus erythematosus and six patients with systemic lupus erythematosus contained the membrane attack complex, which comprises C5b through C9, as well as immune complexes at the dermal-epidermal junction. The basilar epithelium in these areas was vacuolated and edematous, and the dermis contained an inflammatory infiltrate. In contrast, 19 of 29 specimens of normal-appearing skin from patients with discoid or systemic lupus erythematosus showed only immune complexes at the dermal-epidermal junction, without the membrane attack complex. The other 10 specimens, all from patients without cutaneous involvement, showed neither immune complexes nor membrane attack complexes. These data suggest that immune complexes within skin lesions selectively generate the assembly of the membrane attack complex, which mediates membrane injury. A synergistic interaction of immune complexes and cofactors may be required to activate complement in areas of skin that are predisposed to tissue injury.

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Accession: 005076417

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 7054697

DOI: 10.1056/NEJM198202043060503


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