Treatment of immune complex-mediated diseases: Corticosteroids and cytotoxic agents

P. Katz, A. S. Fauci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


It appears evident that pathogenic mechanisms operative in immune complex-mediated injury can be modified by a variety of agents with immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory capabilities. The efficacy of corticosteroids and cytotoxic drugs in the treatment of immune complex-mediatic diseases is likely to be multifactorial. Each agent can intervene at several different points in the scheme of immune complex injury. Thus, these agents may act by preventing the formation and/or tissue localization of the complex or may suppress the inflammatory response to it once deposition has occurred. It should be remembered, however, that many of the proposed means of modifying immune complex-mediated injury are theoretical and based on knowledge of the pharmacological activity of a drug or its known effects in experimental animals. Given the diversity of immune complexes and their probable differences in formation, deposition and ability to initiate inflammatory responses, it may be naive to imagine that a specific agent works in the same manner each time it is used to treat one of these diseases. If one is cognizant of this and of the fact that these drugs may vary in their effectiveness, a logical, systematic approach to the therapy of the immune complex-mediated diseases can be devised. It is only through a thorough and broad-based knowledge of the mechanisms of immune complex-mediated injury and the pharmacology of the agents to be employed that a comprehensive and rational approach to therapy can be achieved. It is hoped that future investigations into the immunopathogenesis of immune complex-mediated disease in concert with a deeper understanding of the pharmacology of immunosuppressive agents will enable us to treat this heterogeneous group of diseases more successfully.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)415-431
Number of pages17
JournalClinics in Immunology and Allergy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy


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