To determine if previously reported peripheral blood suppressor cell defects are also found in the central nervous system (CNS) of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), we studied cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and peripheral blood lymphocytes from 40 MS patients and 15 patients with other neurological diseases. With an indirect immunofluorescence technique using the OKT series of monoclonal antibodies (OKT4, marking helper/inducer cells, OKT5 and OKT8 marking suppressor/cytotoxic cells, and OKT3 marking all peripheral T cells) we found that MS patients tested in the first 2 wk of exacerbation had invariably diminished CSF suppressor/cytotoxic cells, which was followed by an elevation of these cells in the 3rd wk of exacerbation. Repeat studies of three patients showed that perturbations of CSF suppressor/cytotoxic cells were dependent on clinical status. These observations add to the accumulating data that suggest altered immunity in the pathogenesis of MS.
N Cashman, C Martin, J F Eizenbaum, J D Degos, M A Bach