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J Clin Immunol. 1984 Sep;4(5):369-82.

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-specific cell-mediated and humoral immune responses in ataxia-telangectasia patients.


As a part of studies on cell-mediated immune (CMI) responses of immunocompromised, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-infected patients who can or cannot restrict the proliferation of EBV-transformed B cells, we have studied 16 Turkish patients with ataxia-telangectasia (AT). Fifteen were EBV seropositive; one was seronegative. Among the seropositives, eight had no or only low anti-EBV-determined nuclear antigen (EBNA) antibody titers, while seven had normal anti-EBNA levels. EBV-seropositive and -seronegative healthy Turkish children were used as controls. We have particularly asked the question whether low EBNA antibody titers can be correlated with the level of EBV-specific and -nonspecific cell-mediated immunity. Non-EBV-specific tests included cell count, phenotypical characterization with monoclonal antibodies, assessment of natural killer (NK)-cell activity, and ability to suppress mitogen-induced immunoglobulin production. Two EBV-specific CMI tests were used: outgrowth inhibition (OI) and leukocyte migration inhibition (LMI). The majority of the patients of the low-EBNA antibody group was IgA deficient and had high levels of alpha-fetoprotein (a-FP). Cells reacting with OKT8 monoclonal antibody predominated in both AT patient groups. In contrast, the suppressor activity was present in only a few patients and NK and interferon-activated killing (IAK) activities were normal. EBV-specific cell-mediated responses were defective in seven of eight patients in the low-anti-EBNA group and five of seven patients in the group with normal anti-EBNA titers. It is concluded that AT patients are often defective in their EBV-specific cell-mediated immune responses and with regard to their EBNA antibody levels. These defects are associated with a predominance of T cells reacting with OKT8 monoclonal antibody.

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