Seventeen patients with ankylosing spondylitis (Bechterew's syndrome) were investigated. Only 3 of them had detectable autoantibodies, but the IgA and IgM concentrations in serum were increased (p less than 0.05). The patients had a moderate reduction in con-A-induced suppressor cell activity of peripheral blood lymphocytes as detected in con-A/MLC assay, compared with that of 15 controls (41.0 +/- 8.6% suppression compared with 59.4 +/- 5.2%, mean +/-SEM; 0.05 less than p less than 0.1 one-sided test). No differences were found in the percentages of T gamma cells (suppressor cells) and T mu cells (helper cells) between patients an controls. This is to our knowledge the first report of con-A-induced suppressor cell activity an T lymphocyte subpopulations in the peripheral blood of patients with ankylosing spondylitis.
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