Circulating immune complexes in cystic fibrosis and their correlation to clinical parameters

Mary L. Disis, Thomas L. McDonald, John L. Colombo, Roger H. Kobayashi, Carol R. Angle, Sandra Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Circulating immune complexes (CIC) have been found to be elevated in individuals with cystic fibrosis (CF). Previous investigators, using a variety of assays, have reported high levels of CIC in as many as 86% of these patients. Our study followed the progress of 25 patients with CF over a period of 10 months to determine which, if any, clinical parameters correlated with the occurrence and/or concentration of CIC. Immune complex determinations were performed using a coprecipitation method with equine rheumatoid-complement complex. One hundred percent of the CF patients had CIC elevated above normal levels, however, levels of CIC did not correlate with the severity of an individual's acute exacerbation. Clinical parameters including pulmonary function tests, vital signs, total serum IgG levels, and other laboratory studies, were obtained on each individual and analyzed with respect to their relationship to CIC. Only four of 38 parameters examined had p < 0.05. Factors that showed significant correlation to elevated CIC’s in the highly elevated portion of our CIC population were 1) poor NIH score, 2) increased patient age, 3) low peak expiratory flow rate, and 4) elevated total serum IgG. These clinical values are associated more with the measurement of chronic disease. These data suggest that CICs cannot be used as an indication of short-term prognosis or as a monitor to follow the course of acute severe lung infections in the CF patient. Of interest was the observation that all patients who died during the course of the investigation had CIC levels greater than 80 /μg/ml.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-390
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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