Numerous cellular immune defects have been described in patients with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). These include anergy, reduced numbers of helper T cells, and decreased effectiveness of natural killer (NK) cells. In this study, we have measured the lytic activity of antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxic (K) cells using a recently described 51Cr release assay in patients clinically displaying lymphadenopathy syndrome (LAD). We then compared ADCC activity with NK activity, T helper/T suppressor ratios and NK cell number in these same patients. Our results indicate that a reduction of ADCC activity can occur in patients with LAD. In our study, patients that showed reduced ADCC activity also showed reduced NK cell function. Other individuals in this study had reduced NK function while ADCC values remained within the normal range. The degree of reversal of the T helper/T suppressor cell ratio was not a useful indicator of cellular immune function as measured by these assays in that individuals with very low ratios often had normal cytotoxic cell function while some patients with ratios in the normal range had decreased cytotoxicity. The percentage of NK cells as determined by HNK-1 monoclonal antibody also did not prove useful in defining potential cytotoxic activities.
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