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Clin Immunol Immunopathol. 1987 Feb;42(2):141-50.

Antibodies to cardiac Purkinje cells: further characterization in autoimmune diseases and atrioventricular heart block.


We confirmed the occurrence of IgG antibodies reacting with ox cardiac conducting tissue in the serum of some human subjects. These antibodies failed to react with all ox cardiac conducting tissue cells; they reacted only with the cells defined as Purkinje cells. Having checked 352 sera, we found that the prevalence of antibodies to Purkinje cells was 11% in normal subjects (no correlation with sex and age), 14% in systemic lupus erythematosus, 21% in rheumatoid arthritis, 18% in progressive systemic sclerosis, and 23% in Sjögren syndrome. In 50 patients with permanent pacemakers for chronic non-postinfarction atrioventricular (AV) block the prevalence was 30% (P = 0.008). In a selected set of 29 patients with clinically idiopathic AV block located at or below the level of the His bundle the prevalence was 34.5% (P = 0.006). The possible role of anti-Purkinje cell antibodies in autoimmune damage of cardiac conduction tissue is discussed.

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