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Am J Med. 1979 Jun;66(6):1031-9.

The immune complex pathogenesis of glomerulonephritis and pulmonary vasculitis in Behçet's disease.


A kidney and lung biopsy were performed on a patient with active Behçet's disease with renal and pulmonary involvement. Histologic, immunohistochemical and electron microscopic studies of the kidney biopsy specimen revealed a focal segmental necrotizing glomerulonephritis characterized by the presence of numerous subendothelial and occasional intramembranous deposits containing immunoglobulin G (IgG), the third component of complement (C3), the fourth component of complement (C4) and fibrin(ogen). Histologic and immunohistochemical studies of the lung biopsy specimen showed an acute venulitis and septal capillaritis associated with the presence of identical deposits within the walls of affected vessels. Circulating immune complexes were detected in the patient's serum by Raji cell assay. The findings indicate that the glomerulonephritis and pulmonary vasculitis occasionally occurring in Behçet's disease are due to the deposition of circulating antigen-antibody complexes. In addition, they strongly suggest that the majority of the major and minor manifestations of the disease, such as uveitis, cutaneous vasculitis, synovitis and meningoencephalitis, are a result of vascular immune complex deposition.

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