Antibody penetration into living cells. I. Intranuclear immunoglobulin in peripheral blood mononuclear cells in mixed connective tissue disease and systemic lupus erythematosus

Clin Exp Immunol. 1979 Mar;35(3):364-75.


We have shown recently (Alarcón-Segovia, Ruíz-Argüelles & Fishbein, 1978) that an IgG anti-RNP antibody obtained from a patient with mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD) can penetrate viable mononuclear cells (MNC) from normal donors via their Fc receptors. Live MNC from twelve MCTD patients incubated with goat anti-Ig antibody had intranuclear antibody with a speckled pattern in a mean of 5.5% of all MNC and 57.3% of all Fc receptor-bearing MNC. We found intranuclear immunoglobulins in all twelve patients with MCTD which were present only in cells with Fc receptors. Only three out of twenty-one patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) were found to have intranuclear antibody in a mean of 17.2% of their Fc receptor-bearing cells. Further experiments with MNC from SLE patients revealed a partial blocking of penetration of antibody via Fc receptors. MNC from ten scleroderma, ten rheumatoid arthritis patients and eleven normal controls did not have intranuclear immunoglobulin. In vivo penetration of autoantibodies into Fc receptor-bearing cells in MCTD, and probably in SLE as well, may represent an important pathogenetic mechanism.

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology
  • Cell Membrane / immunology
  • Cell Nucleus / immunology
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments / immunology
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology*
  • Mixed Connective Tissue Disease / immunology*
  • Monocytes / immunology*
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / immunology


  • Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments
  • Immunoglobulin G