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May 17, 1971

Cellular Hypersensitivity In Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis

JAMA. 1971;216(7):1201-1202. doi:10.1001/jama.1971.03180330075025

To the Editor.—  Dermal reaction to measles antigen and macrophage migration inhibition tests using a concentrated lymphocytic supernate and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) were conducted to evaluate the cellular immunity of a 9-year-old girl with subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE). Both were positive but there was no evidence of impairment of thymus-dependent lymphocytes, thereby suggesting the presence of aggressive lymphocytes specific to measles antigen.While the relation of measles virus to SSPE has been confirmed by a number of investigators since the report of Connolly et al1 opinion is still divided on the question of why the disease arises only rarely among patients with measles. Burnet described a possible related impairment of thymus-dependent lymphocytes sensitive to measles antigen.2 Saunders et al proposed a destructive interaction between the agressive lymphocytes specific for measles antigen and the host cells containing adapted virus,3 while Horta-Barbosa et al4 reported that a particular