Suppressor Cell Function in Sarcoidosis

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We investigated the role of suppressor cells in the depressed cellular immunity of patients with sarcoidosis. The mean response in 16 patients with active sarcoidosis to three concentrations of phytohemagglutinin was significantly (P < 0.01) less than control values. Passage of the cells over glass wool resulted in a 116% increase in response to phytohemagglutinin in patients and a 39% decrease in control subjects. Addition of indomethacin to phytohemagglutinin cultures increased the response of cells in patients with sarcoidosis by 192% ± 32% versus a 112% ± 18%-increase for control subjects (mean ± SEM, P < 0.05). Patients had an increased percentage of monocytes in peripheral blood mononuclear cell preparations, and the percent monocytes correlated with the percent increase in phytohemagglutinin response after glass wool passage (r ≠ 0.62, P < 0.05). Thus, several factors contribute to the depressed phytohemagglutinin response in sarcoidosis patients: an increased suppression by the prostaglandin-producing suppressor cell, an increased percentage of monocytes, and an as yet undefined factor.

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