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December 1968

False-Positive Reactions for SyphilisSerological Abnormalities in Relatives of Chronic Reactors

Author Affiliations

San Francisco

From the Division of Dermatology, Department of Medicine, University of California School of Medicine, San Francisco.

Arch Dermatol. 1968;98(6):606-611. doi:10.1001/archderm.1968.01610180050005

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.