Cell-mediated immunity in severely head-injured patients: The role of suppressor lymphocytes and serum factors

K. B. Quattrocchi, C. H. Miller, F. C. Wagner, S. J. DeNardo, Gerald L Denardo, K. Ovodov, E. H. Frank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Severe head injury results in suppression of cellular immunity associated with defective in vitro functioning of effector lymphocytes, such as helper T cells and cytotoxic T cells. It is not known whether this suppression in effector lymphocyte function is due to intrinsic lymphocyte dysfunction, to suppressor peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC's) such as suppressor lymphocytes or suppressor monocytes, or to serum factors capable of inhibiting effector lymphocyte function. The purpose of this study was to determine whether a subpopulation of PBMC's and/or serum factor(s) are responsible for this observed suppression in cell-mediated immunity. Cell- mediated immune activity was determined measuring in vitro lymphokine- activated killer (LAK) cytotoxicity following incubation of PBMC's from 15 head-injured patients with those from 15 heterologous normal subjects. The PBMC's were separated into lymphocyte-enriched and monocyte-enriched subpopulations by plastic adherence techniques, and the effect of each population on LAK cytotoxicity was determined. Additionally, the effect on cytotoxicity of serum from the head-injured patients was determined in a dose-response fashion. There was significant depression in LAK cytotoxicity when: 1) PBMC's from normal subjects were incubated with PBMC's from head- injured patients (p < 0.001); 2) lymphocytes (PBMC's depleted of monocytes) from head-injured patients were incubated with PBMC's from normal subjects (p < 0.001); and 3) PBMC's from normal subjects were incubated with serum from head-injured patients (p < 0.001). No suppression in cellular immunity was noted when lymphocytes from normal subjects were incubated with monocytes from head-injured patients. The results indicate that lymphocytes rather than monocytes actively inhibit cellular immunity following severe head injury. The detection of immunosuppressive serum factors suggests a mechanism by which lymphocytes might be modulated by severe head injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)694-699
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • head injury
  • immunocompetence
  • infection
  • lymphokine-activated killer cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Cell-mediated immunity in severely head-injured patients: The role of suppressor lymphocytes and serum factors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this