The prevalence of homozygous and heterozygous deficiency of the 2nd component of complement (C2) was determined in patients with rheumatic disease including 137 with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), 274 with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, and 134 with rheumatoid arthritis. 1 C2 Homozygous deficient and 19 possible heterozygous deficient individuals were identified by using both immunochemical and functional assays to determine C2 levels. Of the 20, 8 had SLE (5.9%), 10 had juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (3.7%), and 2 had rheumatoid arthritis (1.4%), the homozygous deficient individual having SLE. The prevalence of C2 deficiency in the SLE and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis patients was significantly increased (P = 0.0009 and P = 0.02, respectively) when compared with controls, 6 (1.2%) of 509 blood donors having C2 levels consistent with heterozygous deficiency. 15 Of the C2 deficient patients were HLA typed and found to have antigens A10 (Aw25), B18, or both. The patients with C2 deficiency and SLE had earlier age of onset of disease and less antinuclear antibody when compared with the C2 normal SLE patients. 11 Families of the propositi were studied and found to have one or more C2 heterozygous deficient individuals. The family members had an equal distribution of rheumatic disease and antinuclear antibody in the C2 deficient and C2 normal groups. C2 deficient individuals were found to have significantly lower levels of properdin Factor B (242 μg/ml ± 54) when compared with the non C2 deficient family members (282 μg/ml ± 73). These data support the concept that inherited deficiency of C2 is significantly associated with both SLE and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.
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