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Research Article

Impaired antipneumococcal antibody production in patients without spleens.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1985; 290 doi: (Published 05 January 1985) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1985;290:14
  1. F Di Padova,
  2. M Dürig,
  3. F Harder,
  4. C Di Padova,
  5. C Zanussi


    Fifteen splenectomised and 15 normal subjects were studied, in absence of any intentional immunisation, for pokeweed mitogen induced synthesis of antipneumococcal capsular polysaccharide antibodies in vitro by peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Results showed that removal of the spleen had caused a persistent immune deficiency of circulating B cells capable of synthesising IgM antipneumococcal capsular polysaccharide. In vitro synthesis of polyclonal IgM and IgG by peripheral blood mononuclear cells of subjects without spleens was also depressed. These defects were due to an abnormality of the B cell compartment. These data are evidence of the major role of the spleen in the control and production of a consistent part of pokeweed mitogen responsive circulating B cells and add another facet to the complex immune dysfunction of splenectomised subjects. The findings, moreover, may help in understanding the susceptibility of splenectomised people to pneumococcal sepsis and the delayed and impaired antibody response to pneumococcal vaccine.