Soluble class I antigens (sHLA) are secreted by lymphocytes upon activation in vitro. The intrathecal synthesis (ITS) of these molecules has been studied in patients with the varicella-zoster virus (VZV) meningitis. In this paper we describe a sHLA index IH = (CSF sHLA/serum sHLA): (CSF albumin/serum albumin) which is expected to increase only when sHLA is synthesised within the central nervous system (CNS). The IH is elevated in the first week of meningitis, when antibody synthesis is still low, and decreases thereafter. We think IH is an index of early lymphocyte activation within the CNS. The relation of these findings with previous in vitro studies is also discussed.
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