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Changes in T-lymphocyte subsets during acute rheumatic fever


Relative proportions and numbers of helper [OKT4(+)] and suppressor [OKT8(+)] peripheral blood lymphocytes were examined in 32 young patients during the acute phase of rheumatic fever. No significant decrease in percentage T cells during acute rheumatic fever was noted in comparison to normal children controls from the same population. A decrease in absolute numbers of OKT4(+) T cells was also noted in acute rheumatic subjects not receiving corticosteroids (P<0.05). In addition, a significant decrease was documented in both proportions and total numbers of OKT8(+) putative suppressor cells during acute rheumatic attacks. C-reactive protein binding to T-lymphocyte subsets showed no preferential reactivityin vivo for suppressor or helper T cells. Antigen-reactive T lymphocytes identified with the T29 mouse hybridoma reagent showed similar proportions and numbers in rheumatic children as were noted in controls. The present data indicate profound alterations in both helper- and suppressor-cell types in the peripheral blood profile of children with acute rheumatic fever.

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Correspondence to R. C. Williams Jr..

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Williams, R.C., Raizada, V., Prakash, K. et al. Changes in T-lymphocyte subsets during acute rheumatic fever. J Clin Immunol 2, 166–172 (1982).

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Key words

  • Acute rheumatic fever
  • streptococcal membranes