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Case  1 - Discussion

Hematopathology Case


Lupus Erythematosus Cell (LE Cell)
  • Certain antinuclear antibodies enter into viable cells, which results in protracted active cell death

  • Neutrophils or monocytes engulf apoptotic blebs as residuals of cells dying after penetration of anti-DNA antibodies

  • The intracytoplasmic inclusions typically contain degenerated nucleoprotein and antibody to nucleoprotein with homogeneous staining

  • LE cells are not usually found in peripheral blood, but in synovial fluid, cerebrospinal fluid, pericardial/pleural effusions, and bone marrow from patients with SLE

  • Presence of LE cells is suggestive of SLE; they can be found in many other diseases

  • Differential diagnosis: Tart Cell - macrophage or monocytoid reticuloendothelial cell contains a phagocytized nucleus with well-preserved nuclear structure; the phagocytized nucleus, as distinguished from an LE cell inclusion, shows an intact chromatin pattern and chromatin that is more dense and tends to become vacuolated, and is frequently smaller than that in a true LE cell

  • Reference:

    • Rheumatology 2001; 40: 826-827

    • Blood, 1955, Vol. 10, No. 7, pp. 718-729.