Patients with allergic alveolitis to various antigens, asymptomatic exposed individuals and healthy control subjects were studied. The lymphocyte transformation test and the formation of two lymphokines were shown to be positive in almost all affected subjects and only rarely in asymptomatic exposed individuals. In most symptomatic subjects, the presence of antigen-antibody complexes could be demonstrated. However, such complexes were also present in six of the nine asymptomatic exposed individuals having precipitating antibodies.
Factor(s) released from sensitized monocytes strongly facilitate the in vitro formation of specific antibodies but are poorly effective when incubated with cells from asymptomatic exposed subjects or normal individuals.
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