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Ann Neurol. 1989 Feb;25(2):204-7.

Activated suppressor cell function in severely disabled patients with multiple sclerosis.

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Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


Defective suppressor cell function has previously been demonstrated in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) with progressive disease and moderate degrees of disability. In the present study activated suppressor cell function was assessed in patients with documented progressive disease who, at the time of study, had experienced severe disability (Kurtzke score greater than or equal to 6.5) for at least 2 years. We found that mean suppressor levels were significantly increased in this patient group compared with the suppressor levels in the MS patient group with progressive disease but only moderate disability (Kurtzke score of less than or equal to 6.0 within 2 years of study) (59 +/- 8% vs 19 +/- 7%, respectively, p less than 0.01). The mean value in the latter group was significantly reduced compared with the mean value for normal control subjects (47 +/- 4%, p less than 0.01), a finding consistent with previous reports. The results of this study indicate that suppressor cell function, as measured by our assay system, need not be defective in MS patients who have become severely disabled from the progressive form of the disease. Whether the patients who are now severely disabled from progressive MS passed through a phase of disease associated with the same suppressor defects as found in the progressive patients currently with moderate disability will remain speculative until long-term longitudinal studies are performed.

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