Complement-mediated inhibition of immune precipitation in rheumatoid vasculitis
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Complement-mediated inhibition of immune precipitation (CMIP) was measured in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), rheumatoid vasculitis (RA VASC), patients with skin vasculitis not associated with a systemic connective tissue disease and normal healthy controls. CMIP was impaired in 100% (14/14) of the RA vasculitic patients, 60% (12/20) of the RA patients and 22% (2/9) of the dermovasculitic patients. The degree of impairment of CMIP was significantly greater in the RA vasculitic patients compared to the non-vasculitic patients. This difference was due to the significantly lower complement levels and the presence of higher concentrations of an inhibitor of CMIP in the RA vasculitic sera. The levels of this inhibitory activity correlated significantly with IgM rheumatoid factor concentration. Serial studies in three patients with RA vasculitis treated with corticosteroids and immunosuppressive drugs showed significant clinical improvement in two patients, which was associated with improvement in CMIP, reduction in circulating immune complex levels and reduction in IgM rheumatoid factor concentrations.
Key wordsSolubilization of immune complexes IgM rheumatoid factor Inhibitors of complement
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