Thirteen patients affected with unexplained lymphoadenopathy, fever, weight loss, and diarrhea (lymphoadenopathy syndrome; LAS) were evaluated for the possible appearance of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and for immunological and virological characterization. The patients belonged to categories of individuals at risk for AIDS and were homosexual and/or drug abusers or hemophiliacs. Lymph node biopsy showed the histological picture of a follicular hyperplasia. The study of cell-mediated immunity (CMI), humoral immune response, and natural killer (NK) activity demonstrated a significant decrease in T cells with the helper/inducer phenotype (OKT4+ cells) and a relatively increased number of lymphocytes with the suppressor/cytotoxic phenotype (OKT8+ cells). NK activity was significantly lower than in normal controls. The in vitro response to policlonal activators (phytohemagglutinin; PHA) and the cutaneous responsiveness to recall skin tests were impaired, whereas immunoglobulin production was increased, mainly in the IgG fraction. Virological studies showed high serum antibody titers to cytomegalovirus (CMV) but a lack of specific CMI as assayed by the leukocyte migration inhibition test (LMIT). CMV was also isolated from the urine specimen of one patient. The antibody pattern to Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) showed the uncommon contemporary presence of both Epstein-Barr nuclear antigen (EBNA) and early antigen (EA) antibodies. Antibodies to human T-lymphotropic retroviruses (HTLV III) were positive in 10 patients and the virus was isolated in 3 of them. In some patients the presence of serum antibodies to HTLV III was not associated with an impairment of the immune function. A group of individuals at risk for AIDS without LAS was also evaluated for the presence of HTLV III antibodies; the percentage of positive sera was 11.4. Nevertheless, individuals without specific antibodies had immunological abnormalities resembling those of LAS HTLV III-positive patients. The possible implications of these findings are discussed.
- Lymphoadenopathy syndrome (LAS)
- lymphocyte subpopulations
- retroviruses (HTLV III)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy