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January 1986

Abnormalities of Antibody Production After Thermal Injury: An Association With Reduced Interleukin 2 Production

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Surgery (Drs Wood, Rodrick, O'Mahony, Demling, and Mannick) and Clinical Immunology (Dr Eaton), Brigham and Women's Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Boston. Dr O'Mahony is now with Wexford County Hospital, Wexford, Ireland.

Arch Surg. 1986;121(1):108-115. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1986.01400010122017

• Antibody (Ab) production was studied in 25 burned patients who were immunized with 0.5 mg of tetanus toxoid adsorbed. Anti—tetanus toxoid (TT) Ab was measured by hemagglutination, radial immunodiffusion, and an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and the results for the patients were compared with those for five similarly immunized healthy controls. As measured by hemagglutination, 12 (63%) of 19 patients had lower Ab responses than all five controls (P<.05 by χ2), and the median Ab response during the period of maximum response was significantly less than that in controls (8 vs 15.5 log2 maximum dilution; P=.014). After the initial response, serum Ab levels were not maintained in patients, in contrast to controls. This pattern was demonstrated by all three assays; enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay demonstrated that IgG anti-TT Ab was the major class of Ab produced. In nine patients interleukin 2 production by T lymphocytes was measured simultaneously; it was significantly depressed throughout the study except during the period from 36 to 45 days. The Ab response was also impaired in this patient group. Since maintained antibody production in response to TT is known to be T-cell dependent, these results suggest that inadequate interleukin 2 production leading to reduced T-cell help may be responsible for the lack of a persistent Ab response in these burned patients.

(Arch Surg 1986;121:108-115)

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