An analysis of in vitro B-cell immune responsiveness in human lymphatic filariasis.

Nutman Thomas, B.; Kumaraswami, V.; Lincoln Pao; Narayanan, P.R.; Ottesen, E.A.

Journal of Immunology; 1987; 138; 3954-3959.

The immunoregulatory mechanisms involved in  B-cell function in patients with varying clinical manifestation of bancroftian filariasis were examined by studying the ability of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) or PBMC subpopulations from patients with elephantiasis, asymptomatics microfilaremia (MF), and acute tropical pulmonary eosinophilia (TPE) to produce polyclonal and parasite-specific antibody in vitro , both spontaneously and in response to a mitogen (PWM) and to parasite antigen.

          When the spontaneous or mitogen-driven polyclonal responses were examined, all groups produced significant amounts of IgM and IgG; those with TPE produced extremely high levels. However, when in vitro parasite antigen-specific responses were examined, those with MF were unable to produce filaria-specific antibody either spontaneously or in response to PWM or parasite antigen; in contrast, patients with chronic lymphatic obstruction or TPE produced large quantities. Removal of neither adherent cells nor T8 + T cells affected the parasite-specific B-cell anergy seen in those with MF. This absent or severely diminished capacity to produce antibody on parasite antigenic stimulation in patients with MF is likely responsible for the low levels of parasite-specific antibody seen in this most common clinical manifestation of bancroftian filariasis. Its inability to be reversed by the removal of "suppressor elements" suggests a state of B-cell unresponsiveness to the parasite.


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