Lymphocyte response to phytohaemagglutinin in the presence of serum from pregnant women: correlation with serum levels of alpha-foetoprotein

Figueredo, M.A.; Palomino, P.; Ortiz, F.

Clinical and Experimental Immunology 37(1): 140-144


ISSN/ISBN: 0009-9104
PMID: 90571
Accession: 005838774

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The effect of sera from women in different stages of pregnancy on cultures of human lymphocytes stimulated with phytohemagglutinin (PHA) was studied and correlated with .alpha.-fetoprotein (AFP) levels. Sera taken before the 20th wk of gestation showed low levels of AFP and failed to inhibit lymphocyte proliferation. Inhibition was obtained with 38.5% of sera taken from weeks 20-30 and with 51.7% of sera after the 30th wk of pregnancy. Average serum levels of AFP also increased with advanced gestation, but a consistent correlation was not found between AFP concentration and inhibitory activity for every individual serum tested. Lymphocytes from pregnant women or from normal blood donors behaved in the same way in these tests. The mechanisms of inhibition and the role of AFP were discussed.