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Complement components, C1 activation and disease activity in SLE.


Laboratory parameters were studied in 8 systemic lupus erythematosus patients during periods of high and low disease activity, mainly as defined by clinical criteria. Renal manifestations were present in 6 patients 5 of which showed antibodies to native DNA. C-reactive protein was raised in 3 patients. Only 1 of these showed a superimposed bacterial infection. Markedly high concentrations of C1r-C1s-C1 inactivator cOmplexes (C1r-C1s-Cl IA) in the sera provided direct evidence of C1 activation independent of disease activity. During active disease. C1r-C1s-C1 IA were correlated with C1q binding immune complexes as measured by solid phase, but not by fluid phase assay. Immunochemical concentrations of C1q, C4 and C3 and functional C2 were decreased in active SLE, consistent with sequential activation of the classical pathway. Discrepancies were noted between functional and immunochemical assay for C2 but not for factor B. Although essentially within the normal range, the levels of C1s, C4 binding protein, C5 and properdin were lower during active than during inactive disease. The concentrations of the factors B, I and H did not suggest involvement of the alternative pathway. 1 exceptional patient showed low factor B, a relative decrease of factor I and the presence of Bb fragments in plasma during active SLE. Markedly high factor D values were found. This could partly be explained by reduced renal function.

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