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Clin Immunol Immunopathol. 1997 Aug;84(2):145-9.

Immune system differences in men with hypo- or hypercholesterolemia.

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Center for Clinical Pharmacology, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260, USA.


Substantial epidemiologic evidence indicates that relative hypocholesterolemia in apparently healthy individuals is associated with increased subsequent mortality from cancer and other nonatherosclerotic causes of death. To test a hypothesis potentially underlying these unexplained associations, we evaluated whether individuals with hypo- and hypercholesterolemia differ in various enumerative and functional indices of the immune system. Nineteen healthy adult men with a mean age of 46 years and a mean total cholesterol concentration of 151 mg/dl constituted a low cholesterol group and were compared with 39 men of a similar age whose total cholesterol averaged 261 mg/dl. Relative to the high cholesterol group, hypocholesterolemic men had significantly fewer circulating lymphocytes, fewer total T cells, and fewer CD8+ cells (P's < 0.05). Trends toward fewer CD4+ cells and less IL-2 release in response to PHA were also noted in the low, compared to the high, cholesterol group. The low and high cholesterol groups did not differ in number of B lymphocytes, level of PHA-induced proliferation, number of natural killer (NK) cells, or degree of NK cytotoxicity. These data provide preliminary evidence of immune system differences in healthy individuals with hypo- and hypercholesterolemia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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