Defective humoral immunity in pediatric acquired immune deficiency syndrome

Larry J. Bernstein, Hans D. Ochs, Ralph J. Wedgwood, Arye Rubinstein

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188 Scopus citations


Specific antibody production was assessed in six young children with the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). All patients were immunized with bacteriophage X 174, a T cell-dependent neoantigen. In addition, antibody responses to pneumococcal vaccine and tetanus toxoid, lymphocyte responses to mitogens, and serum immunoglobulin levels were determined. Polyclonal hypergammaglobulinemia was documented in three patients. Responses to bacteriophage X 174 were abnormal in all patients: primary responses were blunted, secondary responses were markedly decreased, and the class switch (IgM-IgG) was absent in five of six patients. Antibody formation to pneumococcal vaccine and tetanus toxoid was also diminished. Lymphocyte mitogenic responses to phytohemagglutinin, concanavalin A, pokeweed mitogen, and staphylococcal Cowan A were generally decreased. These findings confirm that pediatric patients with AIDS have significant abnormalities in humoral immunity. Dysfunction of both T cells and B cells plays a role in the resultant poor specific antibody production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)352-357
Number of pages6
JournalThe Journal of Pediatrics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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