Research Article

Cellular reaction to group A beta-haemolytic streptococcal membrane antigen and its relation to complement levels in patients with rheumatic heart disease.

Br Med J 1977; 2 doi: (Published 13 August 1977) Cite this as: Br Med J 1977;2:422
  1. R P Sapru,
  2. N K Ganguly,
  3. S Sharma,
  4. R E Chandani,
  5. A K Gupta


    Cell-mediated immunity and blood complement activities were studied in 35 patients with chronic rheumatic heart disease (RHD) and 17 normal subjects. The T-cell population in patients with RHD was reduced, as were the CH50 and C3 complement levels. The response to phytohaemagglutinin stimulation was deficient, but the lymphocytes of patients with RHD showed increased avidity for 3H-thymidine when stimulated with specific streptococcal membrane antigen. No differences were found between patients with acute rheumatic activity and those without such activity. The susceptibility of individual patients may be related to the specific sensitisation of lymphocytes, while the fact that this persisted even when T-cell numbers had returned to normal may account for the well-known recrudescenses after streptococcal infections in these patients.