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Highly Accessed Editorial

The LE cell: crime scene or crime stopper?

David S Pisetsky

Author affiliations

Duke University Medical Center, 151G, Durham VA Medical Center, Durham, NC 27705, USA

Citation and License

Arthritis Research & Therapy 2012, 14:120  doi:10.1186/ar3878

Published: 26 June 2012

First paragraph (this article has no abstract)

I have often said that the lupus erythematosus (LE) cell is the most important cell in all of medicine. This judgment does not reflect the cell's putative function in auto-immunity but rather the insights it has provided into the mechanisms of autoimmunity. Discovered fortuitously by Hargraves and colleagues (see Suggested reading below) at the Mayo Clinic, the test to detect this cell is very simple. A sample of peripheral blood is disrupted, incubated, and then spread onto a slide for inspection, after Wright's staining, under an old-fashioned light microscope. If the patient has lupus, then, voilĂ , the LE cell stands out among the mundane and ordinary red and white cells that populate the blood.