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N Engl J Med. 1983 Aug 25;309(8):453-8.

Abnormalities of B-cell activation and immunoregulation in patients with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.


We studied B-lymphocyte function in 12 homosexual male patients with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, 5 healthy homosexual men, and 12 heterosexual controls. In comparison with the heterosexual controls, the patients were found to have elevated numbers of cells spontaneously secreting immunoglobulin, decreased B-cell proliferative responses to T-cell-independent B-cell mitogens, and qualitatively deficient helper T cells. The hyperactive spontaneous B-cell responses as well as the refractoriness to signals for T-cell-independent B-cell activation were highly suggestive of an in vivo polyclonal activation of B cells and may have been responsible for the manifestations of B-cell hyperreactivity, such as hypergammaglobulinemia, seen in these patients. We conclude that the scope of immune dysfunction in the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome involves B cells as well as T cells.

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