In a group of 46 patients with retinitis pigmentosa (RP) we studied the presence of circulating immune complexes (CIC) and the alterations in the complement system. Our results showed the presence of CIC in 43.5% of the patients studied, reduced levels of the complement components C3 and C4 (p less than 0.001), and of the haemolytic activity CH50 (p less than 0.001) when compared with a control group consisting of a 100 healthy subjects. We found a statistically significant correlation between the values of C3 and CIC (p less than 0.01), C4 and CIC (p less than 0.01), and between CH50 and CIC (p less than 0.001). These findings indicate that the CIC may play a role in the pathogenesis of primary retinitis pigmentosa.
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