The ability of purified monocytes to regulate in vitro immunoglobulin (Ig) production was examined in 12 patients after HLA-identical marrow grafting. Five patients were studied less than 3 mo after grafting and seven more than 1 yr after grafting. One of the former had acute graft-vs-host disease and five of the latter had chronic graft-vs-host disease. Ficoll-Hypaque-separated peripheral blood mononuclear cells from patients, normal marrow donors, or healthy unrelated individuals were separated into T and non-T cells by sheep erythrocyte rosetting. Highly enriched monocyte and B cell subpopulations were obtained by placing the non-T cells over discontinuous Percoll gradients. Co-cultures of patient or normal monocyte populations with either normal or patient T and B cells with pokeweed mitogen were performed. A hemolytic plaque assay was used to assess Ig secretion after 6 days of culture. Co-culture of T and non-T cells from 10 of 12 patients failed to produce Ig. Monocyte-enriched fractions from all patients provided normal accessory cell functions when co-cultured with normal T and B cells. Two of five patients with chronic graft-vs-host disease had monocytes that suppressed Ig synthesis at high ratios of monocytes to normal T and B cells. Normal monocyte-enriched fractions did not restore Ig production to T and B cells of patients whose T and non-T cells failed to produce Ig. These data indicate that the observed defects in pokeweed mitogen-driven Ig secretion after marrow grafting are due primarily to defective T and B cell functions and that the monocyte accessory function is intact in most patients studied.

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