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Virus-Like Structures in Lymphocytes of Patients with Systemic and Discoid Lupus Erythematosus

JOSEPH R. GOODMAN, Ph.D.; ROBERT A. SYLVESTER, M.D.; NORMAN TALAL, M. D.; and DENNY L. TUFFANELLI, M.D.
[+] Article and Author Information

Grant support: grant AM16140-01, U.S. Public Health Service.

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Joseph R. Goodman, Ph.D., Veterans Administration Hospital, 4150 Clement St., San Francisco, CA 94121.


San Francisco, California


Ann Intern Med. 1973;79(3):396-402. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-79-3-396
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Peripheral lymphocytes from 72 people—22 with discoid lupus erythematosus, 29 with systemic lupus erythematosus, 6 with Sjögren's syndrome, 7 with other diseases, and 8 control subjects—were examined by electron microscopy. The frequency of tubular-reticular structures, previously called virus-like particles in glomerular endothelial cells in systemic lupus erythematosus, and of parallel tubular arrays was evaluated. The tubular-reticular structures were found in 13 of 22 patients with discoid lupus erythematosus, 10 of 29 with systemic lupus erythematosus, 1 of 6 with Sjögren's syndrome, in none of those with other disorders, and in no normal subjects. The parallel tubular arrays were found in most specimens in all categories. Circulating antibodies to reovirus RNA were also evaluated, and measureable levels were found in 50% of patients with discoid lupus erythematosus and 66% of those with systemic lupus erythematosus. There was no discernible relation between the presence of reovirus RNA antibodies and the frequency of tubular-reticular structures.

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