Chilblain lupus erythematosus is associated with antibodies to SSA/Ro

Adv Exp Med Biol. 1999:455:167-71. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4615-4857-7_24.


Chillblain Lupus Erythematosus (CL) of Hutchinson is a subtype of Lupus Erythematosus characterized by erythematous lesions symmetrically distributed on the face, nose, fingers and toes, knees and heels. The lesions are induced by cold, damp climates. A number of patients affected by CL eventually develop features of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). We report here 7 patients, all but one affected by SLE, with chilblain cutaneous lesions on their hands, feet and face. The onset of CL preceded the diagnosis of SLE, from 1 to 10 years in 3 cases, it was concurrent in one case and was subsequent in the other 2 cases. Six out of the seven patients referred typical Raynaud's phenomenon and one had acrocyanosis. CL lesions developed and were aggravated by the cold during autumn and winter, they improved during summer. Skin biopsy performed in 5 patients from the lesions showed, on histology, a typical pattern of alterations with granular deposits at the dermo-epidermal junction on direct immunofluorescence. Laboratory findings showed: ANA and anti-SSA/Ro were detected in all the patients, anti-SSA/Ro were isolated in 4 patients and associated with anti-Sm in one case, anti-U1 RNP in one case and with anti-Sm and anti-RNP in a third case. Complement consumption was observed in 5 patients, anti-dsDNA in the six patients with SLE, hypergammaglobulinemia in 4 and rheumatoid factor in one. The fine specificity of anti-SSA/Ro as determined by immunoblotting using a human spleen extract as a substrate, showed: anti-60kD and anti-52 kD in two sera, anti-60kD isolated in 2 sera, anti-52kD isolated in one serum (from the patient without SLE) while 2 sera did not blotted. In conclusion, our study confirms the previous report of anti-SSA/Ro antibodies in association with CL. This clinical and serologic association widens the spectrum of cutaneous disease that is associated with antibodies to SSA/Ro to include conditions such as to SCLE, hypergammaglobulinemic purpura and neonatal lupus.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Antinuclear / immunology
  • Autoantibodies / immunology
  • Autoantigens / immunology*
  • Biomarkers
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology*
  • Middle Aged
  • RNA, Small Cytoplasmic*
  • Ribonucleoproteins / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Antinuclear
  • Autoantibodies
  • Autoantigens
  • Biomarkers
  • RNA, Small Cytoplasmic
  • RO60 protein, human
  • Ribonucleoproteins
  • SS-A antigen