Specific double (D-DNA) and single stranded (S-DNA) deoxyribonucleic acid binding cells were demonstrated in the peripheral blood lymphocytes of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) by rosette formation with antigen coated red blood cells. The proportion of DNA binding cells in the peripheral blood of patients with SLE was significantly higher than that found in a random population of healthy individuals. Significant numbers of D-and S-DNA binding lymphocytes were found in patients with active disease even when anti-DNA of fluorescent antinuclear antibodies disappeared. The specificity of the DNA binding cells was confirmed by inhibition experiments with D-or S-DNA. Spleen lymphocytes were also examined on one occasion and were found to contain a much higher level of DNA binding lymphocytes than the peripheral blood lymphocytes.
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