We have examined the function of T and B cells from patients with late onset primary acquired hypogammaglobulinemia (PHG). T cells from these patients give effective help to normal B cells for antigen-dependent antibody synthesis. PHG mononuclear cells also synthesize normal quantities of B cell differentiation factors, which enhance IgG, IgM and antigen-dependent antibody synthesis by normal lymphocytes. While patient T cells appear to behave appropriately, the responsiveness of patient B cells is abnormal. Although they respond to differentiation factors with increased synthesis of IgM, overall levels are 10-50-fold lower than normal B cells, and they produce little or no IgG. This pattern of response is not altered if normal T cells are the source of help. The poor response of the B cell appears to represent immaturity rather than an inherent defect, as IgG-secreting clones can be obtained after Epstein-Barr virus transformation of lymphocytes from certain patients, and some of these clones respond to differentiation factors with increased IgG production. The lack of any functional defect in the T population, and the apparent immaturity rather than abnormality of the B cells, may implicate accessory cells in the pathogenesis of the disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy