How is systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) differentiated from Kikuchi disease?

Updated: Nov 13, 2020
  • Author: John Boone, MD; Chief Editor: Sara J Grethlein, MD, FACP  more...
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Kikuchi disease can also mimic SLE. Both can present with lymphadenopathy and fever, and the cutaneous findings seen in 30% of Kikuchi disease patients can resemble those seen in SLE. Results from autoimmune antibody studies may help distinguish Kikuchi disease from SLE. In Kikuchi disease, antinuclear antibodies (ANA), rheumatoid factor (RF), and lupus erythematosus (LE) preparations are usually, although not always, negative.

Kikuchi disease and SLE can also have similar histopathologic appearances. Kikuchi disease is suggested by the absence or paucity of the hematoxylin bodies, plasma cells, and neutrophils usually seen in SLE. Additionally, T lymphocytes predominate in Kikuchi disease, whereas B lymphocytes predominate in SLE.

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