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J Clin Invest. 1984 Jan;73(1):191-201.

Immunoregulatory subsets of the T helper and T suppressor cell populations in homosexual men with chronic unexplained lymphadenopathy.


Unexplained, generalized lymphadenopathy in homosexual men, which can be a prodrome to the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, is associated with impaired cell-mediated immunity, a low ratio of T helper-inducer to T suppressor-cytotoxic cells (defined by the T4 and T8 monoclonal antibodies), and hypergammaglobulinemia. We performed double-marker studies on T cells by using a panel of monoclonal antibodies (Ia, T17, TQ1, and Leu-8), which reportedly detect activation or functional subsets of the T4 and T8 T cell populations. The T4:TQ1- or T4:Leu-8- subset, which is the major helper subset for B cell responses, is normally represented in lymphadenopathy patients. A depression in the reciprocal subset, T4:TQ1+ or T4:Leu-8+, accounts for the T4 T cell defect. Similarly, the TQ1 and Leu-8 markers delineate the abnormality of T8 T cells: the T8:TQ1- or T8:Leu-8- subset is elevated, whereas the T8:TQ1+ or T8:Leu-8+ subset is normally represented. We found no evidence of excessive activation of T4 T cells by using the T17 or Ia monoclonal antibodies. We did find an overall increase in Ia-positive T cells; however, this was due to increased T8:Ia+ cells. In functional studies, immunoglobulin production induced by pokeweed was subnormal. Most lymphadenopathy patients had normal T helper cell function when combined with normal B cells. The dampened pokeweed responses could be partially explained by depression of the T4:TQ1+ (or T4:Leu-8+) subset (which has minor help-associated function) and/or greater than expected suppression. However, subnormal pokeweed responses could not be totally explained by immunoregulatory T cell abnormalities because we also found an intrinsic defect in the B cell responses of lymphadenopathy patients.

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