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J Pediatr. 2003 Jun;142(6):678-83.

Incidence and spectrum of neonatal lupus erythematosus: a prospective study of infants born to mothers with anti-Ro autoantibodies.

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Pediatric Department, ICP, Milano, Italy.



Neonatal lupus erythematosus (NLE) is characterized by complete congenital heart block (CCHB), cutaneous rash, and laboratory abnormalities in infants born to mothers with autoantibodies directed against SSA/Ro, SSB/La, or both. We carried out a prospective study to determine the incidence of individual NLE features.


The study was performed in two centers: Toronto, Canada, and Milano, Italy. Mothers had been referred for the presence of anti-SSA/Ro autoantibodies, regardless of their diagnosis. All the children were seen at least once within the first 6 months of life for clinical evaluation and laboratory testing. The study group consisted of 128 infants born from 124 pregnancies in 112 women with anti-Ro antibodies with or without anti-La antibodies.


There were two cases of CCHB for an overall percentage of 1.6%. Twenty-one children (16%) developed cutaneous NLE. Laboratory testing showed hematologic abnormalities in 27% of the babies and elevation of liver enzymes in 26%.


Mothers with autoimmune diseases and anti-Ro antibodies are at risk of delivering a child with NLE but at a low risk of delivering a child with CCHB. Infants born to mothers with anti-Ro or anti-La antibodies should be monitored for other features of NLE in addition to CCHB.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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