The skin of patients with lupus erythematosus (LE) and related diseases was examined for cytoplasmic tubular aggregates (CTA) before and after ultraviolet light (UVL) irradiation.
All the biopsy specimens from active skin lesions of patients with LE contained CTA. Eight (44.4%) of 18 patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and one (11.1%) of 9 patients with discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE) had CTA in visibly normal skin. Following a ten-day course of UVL irradiation to visibly normal skin, the percentage of patients with CTA increased two fold and five fold, respectively.
Cytoplasmic tubular aggregates appear to be an abnormal cell constituent and may represent a cell reaction product. The possibility that these structures are a neoantigenic product or a virus responsible for disease cannot be excluded. The technique of UVL irradiation is a tool to study the nature of these aggregates.
Berk SH, Blank H. Ultraviolet Light and Cytoplasmic Tubules in Lupus Erythematosus. Arch Dermatol. 1974;109(3):364-366. doi:10.1001/archderm.1974.01630030024004