The association between silicone implants and both antibodies and autoimmune diseases

Clin Rheumatol. 2008 Feb;27(2):147-50. doi: 10.1007/s10067-007-0659-1. Epub 2007 Jul 4.


Silicones are widely used materials in many fields of medicine and largely are believed to be biologically inert. However, some investigators have reported that silicone implants are associated with an increased incidence of autoimmune disorders. In this study, we evaluated the capsular tissue of silicone implants and the sera of implant patients and controls for antisilicone antibodies and nonspecific immunoglobulins (IgG, IgA, IgM, and IgE). Our study group included 15 patients (eight men and seven women) undergoing reconstructive procedures for burn scars, in whom we used silicone implants, and 15 sex-matched controls undergoing reconstructive surgery for burn scars without using silicone implants. By immunofluorescence, we discovered strong capsular binding of IgG and weak capsular binding of IgM; antisilicone antibody levels were significantly higher in capsular tissue than elsewhere. Serum IgE also was higher in patient vs control subject sera. In conclusion, silicone materials do lead to an immune response consisting of antisilicone antibodies most evident immediately adjacent to the implant itself.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Autoantibodies / blood*
  • Autoimmune Diseases*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood*
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Immunoglobulin M / blood
  • Male
  • Prostheses and Implants / adverse effects*
  • Silicones / adverse effects*


  • Autoantibodies
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin M
  • Silicones
  • Immunoglobulin E