The L. E. cell phenomenon has been considered to be highly specific for systemic lupus erythematosus.* Nevertheless, it has been reported in isolated cases of other diseases † and has been repeatedly demonstrated in association with severe hypersensitivity reactions to penicillin,‡ tetanus antitoxin, hydantoin,10 and hydralazine.§
The resulting hypothesis that the L. E. cell might represent an immunologic phenomenon led to the attempt to reproduce it by incubating leucocytes with antileucocytic rabbit serum.∥ The cells thus produced resembled, but were not identical with, the L. E. cell. The inclusion body was still recognizable as a secondary nucleus with preserved chromatin pattern, in contrast to the "smoky" homogenized L. E. inclusion body. Patients with hypersensitivity states frequently may show such nucleophagocytosis 17 and occasionally the L. E. cell phenomenon.¶ Zimmer and Hargraves 18 noted that positive L. E. preparations in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus showed increased numbers of nucleophagocytes
HELLER P, ZIMMERMAN HJ. Nucleophagocytosis: Studies on Three Hundred Thirty-Six Patients. AMA Arch Intern Med. 1956;97(4):403–408. doi:10.1001/archinte.1956.00250220023002
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