Circulating immune complexes in patients with cryptogenic fibrosing alveolitis

Clin Exp Immunol. 1979 Sep;37(3):381-90.


Increased Clq binding levels have been obtained in serum from twenty-one (50%) of forty-two patients with cryptogenic fibrosing alveolitis (CFA) suggesting the presence of circulating immune complexes. There was a low frequency of positive results using a number of other tests for circulating immune complexes. The increased Clq binding levels were observed in six (35%) out of seventeen patients with lone lung involvement and in fifteen (60%) out of twenty-five patients with extrapulmonary connective tissue disorders. There was an especially close correlation between arthritis and elevated Clq binding. A strong correlation between Clq binding levels and levels of circulating rheumatoid factor (RF) and IgG, and enhancement in macrophage radiobioassay tests using RF-containing sera, suggested that RF might be involved in the circulating immune complexes in these patients. DNAase pre-treatment of sera did not influence the findings, and there was no correlation between Clq binding and levels of immunofluorescent ANA, C-reactive protein levels, or platelet counts. A weak correlation between Clq binding and erythrocyte sedimentation rates, and slightly lower binding levels in treated than untreated patients with 'lone' CFA suggested that binding levels may give some indication of disease activity and may in some instances be influenced by treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Antinuclear / analysis
  • Antigen-Antibody Complex*
  • Blood Sedimentation
  • C-Reactive Protein / analysis
  • Complement C1 / immunology
  • Connective Tissue Diseases / complications
  • Connective Tissue Diseases / immunology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins / analysis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / complications
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / drug therapy
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / immunology*
  • Rheumatoid Factor / analysis


  • Antibodies, Antinuclear
  • Antigen-Antibody Complex
  • Complement C1
  • Immunoglobulins
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Rheumatoid Factor