Journal of Clinical Immunology

, Volume 7, Issue 5, pp 420–426 | Cite as

Quantitation and antigenic characterization of bound C3 of circulating immune complexes in systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, and primary biliary cirrhosis

  • Bo Nilsson
  • Anders Bjelle
  • Lars Lööf
  • Ulf R. Nilsson
Short Communication


In recent years defective function of the complement-mediated clearance of immune complexes (IC) has been reported in patients with immune complex disease. The defect has been found at different levels in the clearance system. An important event in this sequential system is the binding of C3-coated particles to C3 receptors on erythrocytes and phagocytes. This study focuses on immunochemical properties of IC-bound C3 that reflect the functional state of the molecule. Sera from patients with primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), rhematoid arthritis (RA), and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and from normal subjects were analyzed for their level of C3 precipitable in 2.7% (w/v) polyethylene glycol (PEG). The mean levels for the patient categories were significantly higher than that for the normal subjects. The immunochemical study revealed several differences among the different forms of PEG-precipitable C3. All forms expressed C3(D) antigens which are expressed by immune complex-associated and denatured forms but not by soluble physiological forms of C3. The expression of these antigens was proportionately lower for the complex-associated C3 of PBC compared to that of RA and SLE. Furthermore, employing monoclonal anti-C3(D) antibodies against the C3c and the C3d domain, distinct differences could be detected among all forms of PEG-precipitable C3. Sera from RA and SLE, in particular, contained PEG-precipitable C3 that exhibited distinctive immunochemical features with respect to these epitopes.

Key words

Immune complex systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) rheumatoid arthritis primary biliary cirrhosis 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bo Nilsson
    • 1
  • Anders Bjelle
    • 2
  • Lars Lööf
    • 3
  • Ulf R. Nilsson
    • 1
  1. 1.Blood CentreUniversity HospitalUppsalaSweden
  2. 2.Department of RheumatologySahlgren University HospitalGothenburgSweden
  3. 3.Department of Internal MedicineUniversity HospitalUppsalaSweden

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