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J Clin Invest. 1987 Mar;79(3):715-20.

Demonstration of defective C3-receptor-mediated clearance by the reticuloendothelial system in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.


The function of macrophage C3 receptors was assessed in vivo by measuring the clearance of C3-sensitized autologous erythrocytes in seven acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) patients, eight healthy homosexual men, eight healthy heterosexual men, and four infected controls. Healthy heterosexual men had an initial clearance of 50.1 +/- 2.0% of the inoculum, with a release of a small portion of these cells (10.9 +/- 1.3%) into the circulation. Healthy homosexual men had a greater initial clearance of 66.0 +/- 4.2% (P less than 0.01) followed by a similar release (14.0 +/- 3.3%). AIDS patients had an initial clearance of 60.6 +/- 7.5% but had a relatively large release of cells (25.6 +/- 3.2%) (P less than 0.005 vs. heterosexuals; P less than 0.05 vs. homosexuals), suggesting a failure of macrophage phagocytosis. Infected controls had an initial clearance of 59.4 +/- 4.9%, with a release of 19.6 +/- 3.8% (P = NS vs. AIDS). These data, in addition to Fc-receptor dysfunction, demonstrate a global reticuloendothelial system dysfunction in AIDS patients. This may contribute to their frequent infections with opportunistic pathogens and inappropriate immune responses against these microorganisms.

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