Immune complex disease

Immune complex disease

An immunologic category of diseases evoked by the deposition of antigen-antibody or antigen-antibody-complement complexes on cell surfaces, with subsequent involvement of breakdown products of complement, platelets, and polymorphonuclear leukocytes, and development of vasculitis; nephritis is common. Arthus phenomenon and serum sickness are classic examples, but many other disorders, including most of the connective tissue diseases, may belong in this immunologic category; immune complex diseases can also occur during a variety of diseases of known aetiology, such as subacute bacterial endocarditis.

See: autoimmune disease.

Synonym: immune complex disorder, type III hypersensitivity reaction.


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