To investigate some humoral aspects which may reflect the involvement of B lymphocytes in the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), we used an enzyme-linked immunoassay (ELISA) to determine the levels of IgM, IgG and IgA rheumatoid factors (RF) in 16 patients suffering from full-blown AIDS and 32 patients with AIDS-related complex (ARC), in the clinical form of lymphoadenopathy syndrome (LAS), compared with 40 healthy, young heterosexual subjects. Both AIDS and ARC patients showed a greater incidence of high IgM RF levels, with mean values significantly higher than controls, but with no differences between the two pathological groups. IgG RF behaviour was similar in the two patient populations and the healthy subjects. IgA RF were significantly raised in AIDS and ARC. Further information on RF was obtained by determination of the immunoglobulin levels of the respective isotypes in the same patients. Mean IgG levels were above normal in AIDS and ARC patients, but the latter group showed a higher incidence of increased values and higher mean levels. The IgA isotype was significantly increased mainly in AIDS patients. The behaviour of IgM was virtually the same in the three groups studied. A difference between AIDS and ARC patients was established by the detection of circulating immune-complexes (IC) by the Clq-binding and CIC-conglutinin assays. IC were significantly high, by both methods, only in the ARC group, but normal or very low in AIDS. These overall findings suggest once again the impairment of B cell function in AIDS, with prevalent hyperactivation in ARC and exhaustion in full-blown AIDS, and apparent preservation, in the latter group, of the antibody responses which are more closely related to the activity of subsets of T helper cells.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Clinical and Experimental Immunology|
|Publication status||Published - 1987|
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