So long as the diagnosis of SLE is based on an overall view of the entire clinical picture with assistance from various laboratory tests such as LE cells, antinuclear antibodies, and skin and renal biopsies, there will be problems in arriving at a definitive diagnosis and the inevitable "semantic arguments" will continue to arise. We welcome Drs. Stickler and Burke's letter, which provides the opportunity to further clarify our concept of SLE.

Criteria for diagnosis of SLE were set forth in our second paragraph of the section entitled Discussion, in as precise a manner as we feel the disease permits at the present state of knowledge.

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