Soluble immune complexes in lupus mice: Clearance from blood and estimation of formation rates

William W. Mullins, Paul H. Plotz, Leslie Schrieber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Elevated levels of circulating immune complexes (IC) occur in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and in several strains of mice that spontaneously develop a lupus-like illness. An increase in circulating IC might occur as a result of increased IC formation or decreased IC clearance. Previous work with one murine lupus strain, NZB/W, demonstrated normal clearance of soluble IC. We studied the in vivo behavior of stable model IgG IC in two murine lupus strains, MRL/l and BXSB, and in two normal strains, C3H/HeN and BALB/c. IC were injected intravenously, and blood radioactivity was measured over 3 hr. A clearance curve was derived for each mouse using the Marquardt-Levenberg curve-fitting method. A formula is derived which predicts the formation rate of IC in each animal from the blood level of IC and the clearance curve parameters. All mice exhibited biphasic exponential clearance of IC over 3 hr. Clearance of IC was significantly slower in MRL/l mice than in normal strains (P <0.02), and clearance in BXSB mice was significantly faster than in normals (P <0.02). However, the derived formula suggests that the observed differences in IC clearance have only a small effect on the blood levels of IC in the mice studied, and therefore suggests that the major factor which accounts for increased blood levels of IC in lupus mice is an increase in the IC formation rate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)375-385
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Immunology and Immunopathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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