, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 135-141

Heterogeneity of immunological abnormalities in ataxia-telangiectasia

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Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from five patients with ataxia-telangiectasia were evaluated for their reactivity with a panel of monoclonal antibodies directed against T-cell subsets and for theirin vitro functions in a pokeweed mitogen-induced immunoglobulin biosynthesis assay. All the patients had significantly reduced proportions of cells identified by monoclonal antibodies to subpopulations of T lymphocytes with helper activity (OKT4 and 5/9) and produced low amounts or no IgA and IgGin vitro. Immunoglobulin biosynthesis was increased by the addition of normal x-irradiated peripheral blood mononuclear cells in one of three patients, suggesting a helper T-cell deficiency in this patient and intrinsic B-cell defects in the other two. Two patients had increased proportions of cells identified by a monoclonal antibody to a subpopulation of T lymphocytes which includes suppressor T cells (OKT8), and their cells were able to suppress immunoglobulin biosynthesis by peripheral blood mononuclear cells from normal donors. These findings indicate heterogeneous disturbances of immunoregulatory mechanisms in ataxia-telangiectasia.