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J Trauma. 1987 Jun;27(6):661-3.

Long-term depressed immune function in patients splenectomized for trauma.


Peripheral blood from asplenic trauma patients (ASP) was analyzed for immunoglobulin concentrations, complement levels, T- and B-lymphocyte populations, and mitogen response of T cells, and compared to a similar analysis performed on the blood of normal controls (C). The interval from splenectomy to testing averaged 1,471 +/- 193 days (mean +/- SEM) in the ASP. Total lymphocyte count averaged 2,941 +/- 234 in the ASP with a T-cell count of 2,030 +/- 182 and a B cell count of 351 +/- 58. The average control lymphocyte count of 1,769 +/- 147 was significantly less than ASP (p less than 0.001) as were the T-cell count of 1,328 +/- 107 (p less than 0.005) and the B-cell count of 124 +/- 18 (p less than 0.001). Responses to PHA were diminished in ASP lymphocytes by 38% at 3 days (p less than 0.01) and by 49% at 5 days (p less than 0.001) when compared to C. Levels of IgM were significantly decreased (p = 0.05) in ASP. Levels of C3, C4, and C5 were similar in ASP and C. These data demonstrate persistent abnormalities in immune function in adult ASP without underlying lymphoreticular disorders and suggest a possible explanation for the increased septic risk in this patient group.

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