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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,


I have a question.:(:( I recently had my blood drawn. My C3 was on the low side and one of the circulating immune complex was elevated. IgG was elevated but IgM was normal. ANA was positive as usual.
Doed anybody have an idea what the elevated immune complex mean.
I have been feeling sore all over but not as bad as before. :(:(

Big hugs

Maura
 

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Hi Maura,

Circulating immune complexes are generally what shows up in my bloods (I have never had positive ANA or anti-dsdna). They go higher when my disease activity is worse and were the reason I was put on stronger medication. Obviously that depends on how high they go (mine were very high) and what your rheumy thinks.

I'm afraid I can't say much more as it's all quite complex really and I have yet to find a doc that explains them clearly. I also haven't found anything very clear on the internet about it. It's either too brief or too in depth :lol:

Katharine
 

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Hello Maura

I can explain only in the most simple terms, that an immune complex is formed when the immune system mounts an attack on protein that it recognises as "non- self", usually bacterial and viral infections. The protein that provokes the immune system's very complex defense mechanisms is called the antigen. Antibodies are produced to attack the antigen. An immune complex is what's formed when the antibodies bind to the antigens. The immune complex circulates throughout the body system and somehow or another gets processed out of it when the harmful cells have been killed off. The immune system returns to its normal state and we feel better.

In some infectious diseases the immune complexes fail to disappear and the disease becomes chronic; Lyme disease and malaria are examples.
In autoimmune diseases the immune system is malfunctioning because it gets confused between 'self' and 'non -self' proteins, in other words it starts defending the body from its own cells and produces auto- antibodies, antibodies to 'self'.

So disease activity might be measured by the level of circulating immune complexes, and diagnostically the type of disease might be determined by the type of anti bodies or autoantibodies, as always along with symptoms.

There are the different groups of antibodies( immunoglobulins), IgG, IgE,IgM and so on, but many different ones within those general groups.

Sometimes the immune complexes deposit themselves in organs and start causing damage that might be permanent. One school of thought about autoimmune disease is that the problem is not the production of antibodies of any sort, but the body's failure to dispose of the immune complexes in the usual way.

This is just my understanding of an extremely complex subject, how the immune system works, about which much still remains to be understood even at expert level.

Cheers
Clare
 

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Thanks Clare that was very interesting for me too :)

Katharine
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hello

Thank you for your replies. Clare, thank you for your nice review. It provided some clear info on this very elusive topic.

Katherine, my ANA is always positive but fluctuates. This is the first time my circulating immune complex is abnormal. I have an appointment with my rheumy on the 19th of this month.

I will let you know what she says.


Big hugs

Maura
 
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