Hereditary complement (C9) deficiency associated with dermatomyositis

Br J Dermatol. 2001 May;144(5):1080-3. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2133.2001.04204.x.


A 28-year-old Japanese woman with hereditary complement (C9) deficiency and dermatomyositis is reported. She had a 3-year history of facial erythema and a 1-month history of progressive muscle weakness. Clinical and laboratory findings were suggestive of dermatomyositis; muscle biopsy confirmed an inflammatory myopathy. An unexpected finding, however, was the low titre of serum haemolytic complement (CH50). Treatment with prednisolone resulted in marked clinical improvement but did not affect the CH50 titre. Further investigation revealed a selective and total absence of the ninth complement component (C9), with direct DNA sequence analysis revealing a non-sense mutation at Arg95 of the C9 gene. This case demonstrates that the muscle lesions of dermatomyositis can occur in the presence of a complement defect that would prevent the formation of the C5b-9 membrane attack complex.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Codon, Nonsense
  • Complement C9 / deficiency*
  • Complement C9 / genetics
  • Dermatomyositis / genetics
  • Dermatomyositis / immunology*
  • Dermatomyositis / pathology
  • Erythema / immunology
  • Facial Dermatoses / immunology
  • Female
  • Humans


  • Codon, Nonsense
  • Complement C9