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May 1970

Discoid Lupus ErythematosusElectron Microscopic Studies of Paramyxovirus-like Structures

Author Affiliations


From the Division of Dermatology, Department of Medicine, University of Tennessee College of Medicine, Memphis, and the Memphis Veterans Administration Hospital.

Arch Dermatol. 1970;101(5):565-577. doi:10.1001/archderm.1970.04000050069009

Tubular structures similar to paramyxoviruses were observed in the skin lesions of ten consecutive patients with discoid lupus erythematosus. Two lesions from each case, one representing the most recently developed and the other the oldest one, were examined. Fifty dermal blood vessels consisting of arterioles, capillaries, venules, and small veins were examined in each lesion, totaling 100 blood vessels from each case. The detection rate of paramyxovirus-like inclusion or inclusions in either endothelial cells, perivascular histiocytes, or fibroblasts was 100% in new lesions (defined as up to six months' duration), whereas in old ones (older than six months) the mean detection rate was 70% on average. Very old scarred lesions did not contain the structure. Similar structures have been found also in dermatomyositis, scleroderma, and the congenital rubella syndrome. Since these inclusions were found mostly in so-called autoimmune disorders and, with the exception of congenital rubella syndrome, not in other groups, we hypothesized that, if proven to be a virus, they may be causally related to these diseases or, if not, they may represent a common reaction pattern in the autoimmune responses of tissue.