We have conducted in vivo investigations of the rate of clearance of prepared antibody/dsDNA immune complexes from the circulation of rabbits and have correlated the results with some in vitro immunologic properties of the complexes. Those complexes that fix complement most efficiently in vitro (as manifested by their complement-mediated binding to human red blood cells or rabbit platelets) are cleared most rapidly. Factors that decrease this binding such as reduction and alkylation of the antibodies or the use of dsDNA of a lower m.w. also tend to prolong the circulation times for the complexes. This study provides additional evidence in support of a complement-mediated platelet immune complex clearance mechanism in non-primates that parallels the erythrocyte immune complex clearance mechanism in primates first described by He bert. Finally, the implications of our findings with respect to the importance of dsDNA size in the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus are discussed.

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