One-hundred and three probands with chronic false-positive (CFP) seroreactions for syphilis and 199 relatives were studied clinically and serologically. The probands were characterized by an increased incidence of antinuclear-antibodies, rheumatoid factors, hypergammaglobulinemia, and elevated IgM levels. There was no increased incidence of clinical disease in the relatives. They were found to have a higher incidence of antinuclear factor (16.5%), rheumatoid factor (14.2%), and hypergammaglobulinemia (16.9%). Serum immunoglobulin studies revealed the relatives to have a statistically significant elevation of IgG and depression of IgM.
A genetic background of an inherited defect in immunoglobulin control mechanisms is implied in patients with CFP seroreactions for syphilis. However, if familial aggregation exists, it operates at a low level and does not correspond to a simple genetic pattern.
Tuffanelli DL. False-Positive Reactions for SyphilisSerological Abnormalities in Relatives of Chronic Reactors. Arch Dermatol. 1968;98(6):606-611. doi:10.1001/archderm.1968.01610180050005