Sjögren's Syndrome: A Defect in Reticuloendothelial System Fc-Receptor-Specific Clearance

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To determine the functional status of reticuloendothelial system Fc receptors in patients with Sjögren's syndrome, we studied the rate of clearance from the circulation of 51Cr-labeled IgG-sensitized autologous erythrocytes in 19 patients. Fc-receptor-mediated clearance was abnormal in 12 of the 19 patients, with half-lives ranging from 80 to 356 min. There was a significant correlation between clearance rates and clinical manifestations of disease. Clearance rates tended to be normal in patients with disease limited to exocrine glands and abnormal in patients with widespread disease. In contrast, there were no correlations between the rate of clearance of IgG-sensitized erythrocytes and serum immune complex levels, serum complement component levels, or rheumatoid factor titers. The striking correlation between clearance rates and disease manifestations suggests that decreased clearance of immune complexes by defective reticuloendothelial system Fc receptors may contribute to disease pathogenesis.

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