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Primary cell-mediated immune response in bronchial asthma. Relationship between primary in vitro and in vivo cell-mediated and antibody responses in patients with asthma and healthy controls


F. R. Weller, Department of Clinical Immunology, University Hospital, Oostersingel 59, 9713 EZ Groningen, The Netherlands.


Eleven patients with asthma and ten sex and age matched healthy controls were immunized with the primary immunogen Helix pomatia Haemocyanin (HPH). The amplitude and the kinetics of in vitro cell-mediated immune response were measured by HPH-induced lymphocyte proliferation. Lymphocytes were also challenged in vitro with mitogens and recall antigens. In vivo cell-mediated immunity was determined by inducing delayed type hypersensitivity reactions with HPH. Anti-HPH antibody responses in the IgE, IgG and IgM classes were measured to gain an insight into the relation between cell-mediated and humoral immune responses in patients with asthma and healthy controls. The in vitro and in vivo cell-mediated response and the IgM antibody response did not differ between patients with asthma and controls. The IgE and IgG antibody responses, however, were increased in the patients. IgM antibody response correlated with both the in vitro and in vivo cell-mediated response (R= 0.45, P<0.05). IgE and IgG antibody responses however were not correlated with cell-mediated responses. These data suggest that the primary abnormality in immune regulation in patients with asthma concerns the control of the IgE and IgG class antibody responses.

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