February 1968

Detection of Tuberculin Sensitivity in Children by Leukocyte Culture

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Allergy, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Am J Dis Child. 1968;115(2):247-252. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1968.02100010249014

A NEW approach to the in vitro study of hypersensitivity states in humans unfolded when Nowell published his observations on phytohemagglutinin-induced in vitro transformation of peripheral blood leukocytes.1 For, although Nowell at first was inclined to ascribe this transforming effect to phytohemagglutinin (PHA) 's action on the cell surface, others, in duplicating his findings, likened the transformed cells, apparently derived from the small lymphocyte, to the large pyroninophilic cells seen in antigenically-stimulated lymph nodes or in graft versus host reactions and sought an immunological basis for this mitogenic action.2-5 In attempting to demonstrate the role of hypersensitivity in lymphocyte transformation, Pearmain et al selected tuberculin purified protein derivative (PPD) as a substitute "antigen" for PHA in peripheral-blood leukocyte cultures made from tuberculin-sensitive individuals, and they did, indeed, find that PPD regularly stimulated proliferation and mitotic activity in the cell cultures from Mantouxpositive individuals (with clinically inactive tuberculosis) but

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