Lymphocyte subsets in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and peripheral blood were studied using monoclonal antibodies, in patients with subacute sclerosing panencephalitis, eight of whom were at stage 2 and seven at stage 4. Eighteen subjects affected with non immunological diseases constituted the controls. Regardless of the stage, patients with subacute sclerosing panencephalitis had lower percentages of OKT3+ (pan-T) cells in both CSF and peripheral blood, with an increase of OKIa+ cells (B cells, macrophages and active T cells) in peripheral blood. A difference was found in the proportion of OKT4+ (helper-inducer) and OKT8+ (suppressor/cytotoxic) cells in relation to the stage, the most striking finding being a significant decrease of OKT8+ with an increase of T4/T8 ratio in peripheral blood at an early stage.
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