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Clinical Observation
February 1982

Circulating Immune Complexes in Rheumatoid Arthritis: Selective Removal by Cryogelation With Membrane Filtration

Author Affiliations

From the Section of Clinical Immunology (Dr Krakauer), Departments of Artificial Organs (Drs Asanuma, Zawicki, and Nose and Mr Malchesky), and Rheumatic and Immunologic Disease (Dr Calabrese), Cleveland Clinic Foundation.

Arch Intern Med. 1982;142(2):395-397. doi:10.1001/archinte.1982.00340150195038

• We have developed a system of extracorporeal circulation that removes proteins of the molecular weight of the circulating immune complexes of rheumatoid arthritis by cryogelation with hollow-fiber membrane filtration. A 52-year-old woman with a 36-year history of severe, unremitting, high-titer, seropositive rheumatoid arthritis who had failed to respond to anti-inflammatory, antirheumatic, and cytotoxic drugs was chosen for a trial of this system. A rapid and sustained decrease in circulating immune complexes as measured by C1q binding occurred, accompanied by a much slower improvement in clinical factors of disease activity. Rheumatoid factor changed very little and loss of other serum proteins by the procedure was relatively modest. This new procedure was successful in removing circulating immune complexes in a patient with rheumatoid arthritis, and in inducing a remission in one who has not had such in 36 years, while sparing volume and other plasma proteins.

(Arch Intern Med 1982;142:395-397)