Abnormal humoral immune responses in peripheral blood lymphocyte cultures of bone marrow transplant recipients
Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation
The present study was aimed at investigating recovery of humoral immunity in vitro after bone marrow transplantation in patients with acute leukemia and severe aplastic anemia. Hemolytic plaque assays were utilized to quantitate pokeweed mitogen-stimulated polyclonal immunoglobulin production and sheep erythrocyte antigen-specific antibody responses in cultures of peripheral blood mononuclear cells of 39 patients beginning at 1 month, for variable periods up to a maximum of 4 years after marrow transplantation. Three phases were identified: an early period of primary B cell dysfunction with concomitant immunoregulatory T cell abnormalities--i.e., decreased helper and increased suppressor activities; an intermediate phase in which B cell dysfunction could be attributed in large measure to immunoregulatory T cell abnormalities; and a late phase of normal B and T lymphocyte functions. Patients with graft-versus-host disease differed from those without it in that they often did not manifest increased T cell suppressor activity in the early period, and they were noted to have prolonged and profound B and T cell abnormalities in the chronic phase of their disease. In selected patients, simultaneous assessment of ratios of Leu-2 to Leu-3 antigens on T cells by monoclonal antibodies and of immunoregulatory T cell functions revealed a correlation between the two only late in the post-transplant period. These studies provide an insight into the ontogeny of B cell function in the post-transplant period and indicate that in certain situations phenotypic alterations in T cell subsets cannot reliably be used to predict abnormalities in their function in recipients of marrow transplantation.