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Lupus. 1999;8(3):215-9.

Chilblain lupus erythematosus is associated with antibodies to SSA/Ro.

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  • 1Clinical Immunology Unit, Spedali Civili, Brescia, Italy.


Chilblain lupus erythematosus (CL) of Hutchinson is a subtype of lupus erythematosus (LE) characterized by erythematous lesions induced by cold, damp climates. A number of patients affected by CL eventually develop features of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). We report here 9 patients with chilblain cutaneous lesions, 6 of them were affected by SLE and 2 by SCLE. The onset of CL preceded the diagnosis of LE, from 1 to 10 years in 3 cases, it was concurrent in one case and was subsequent in the remaining 4 cases. Raynaud's phenomenon and photosensitivity were other prominent clinical features in patients with CL. Nailfold capillaroscopy revealed pathological changes in every patient examined. ANA and anti-SSA/Ro antibodies were detected in all nine patients. Anti-SSB/La were detected in 2 cases, anti-Sm in one case, and anti-Sm and anti-RNP in a one case. Antibodies to dsDNA and complement consumption were found in the six patients with SLE. The fine specificity of anti-SSA/Ro was determined by immunoblotting: anti-60kD and anti-52 kD were detected in three sera, anti-60kD alone in 5 sera, while one serum did not blot. In conclusion, the present study suggests that chilblain LE is associated with SSA/Ro autoantibodies, as is SCLE, hypergammaglobulinemic purpura and neonatal lupus erythematosus.

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