IgA immune complexes in patients with dermatitis herpetiformis occur in the absence of IgA rheumatoid factor.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Thirty to forty percent of patients with dermatitis herpetiformis (DH) have IgA-containing circulating immune complexes (IgA-CIC); however, the antigenic composition of these complexes as well as the role they play in the pathogenesis of DH are unknown. The failure to detect wheat protein in these IgA-CIC, despite the association of DH with gluten-sensitive enteropathy, suggests that the IgA-CIC in DH may be similar to those seen in the IgA nephropathies and represent IgA rheumatoid factor (RF)-IgG complexes. We have examined the sera of 32 patients with DH, 16 non-DH patients positive for RF by latex fixation, and 15 normal subjects for IgA and IgM RF using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) and for IgA-CIC using an anti-C3 ELISA. Thirteen of 16 (81%) latex fixation test-positive patients had IgA RF by ELISA and 15/16 (94%) had IgM RF by ELISA. The total amount of RF detected by the ELISA (IgA + IgM RF) correlated with the latex fixation titer (r = 0.678, p = 0.004) in these latex fixation-positive patients. Six of the 16 (38%) latex fixation-positive patients also were found to have IgA-CIC. Solid phase absorption using goat antihuman C3 decreased the levels of immune complexes but not the level of IgA RF, suggesting the IgA-CIC detected do not represent uncomplexed IgA RF. In contrast, although 12 of 31 (39%) patients with DH had IgA-CIC ranging in amount from 0.331-26.0 micrograms IgA/ml (nl less than 0.150 microgram IgA/ml), only 1 of 32 (3%) DH patients had detectable levels of IgA RF (7.0 micrograms IgA/ml, nl less than 2.0 micrograms IgA/ml). Low levels of IgM RF were found in 8/32 (25%) of patients with DH (1.1-1.6 micrograms IgM/ml, nl less than 1.0 microgram IgM/ml). These data document that IgA RF is not present in the sera of patients with DH independent of the presence or absence of IgA-CIC and that it is unlikely that the IgA-CIC present are IgA RF complexed with autologous IgG.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Hall, RP; Eyre, RW

Published Date

  • July 1, 1987

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 89 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 27 - 31

PubMed ID

  • 3298445

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-202X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/1523-1747.ep12580310


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States