The suppression of erythropoiesis by lymphocytes from patients with a T cell lymphoproliferative syndrome and pure erythrocyte aplasia has been previously demonstrated. To study the nature of the suppressor cell and possible genetic restriction of this suppression, we investigated a patient with severe anemia, splenomegaly, lymphocytosis, and erythroid aplasia. A 3-mo course of low-dose daily oral cyclophosphamide achieved a complete remission for over 12 mo. The surface phenotype of his lymphocytes was analyzed by means of antibodies to lineage, differentiation, and activation-specific surface antigens. The cells expressed mature T cell antigens T3, T8, and T11, while lacking T1. Immature T cell, B cell, and the monocyte-specific antigen Mo2 were absent, while Mo1, a monocyte-associated antigen not normally expressed on T cells, was present. T10 and Ia expressed as activation antigens were also present. The cells, cryopreserved at diagnosis, were thawed and co-cultured in plasma clot with patient remission marrow samples at T cell/bone marrow ratios of 1:1 and 2:1. There was nearly 90% suppression of erythroid colony-forming unit expression and 60% suppression of erythroid burst-forming unit expression at 2:1 T cell to bone marrow ratios and somewhat less suppression at 1:1. Granulocyte/macrophage progenitor expression was unaffected. Erythroid progenitor differentiation in the marrows of two HLA identical siblings was similarly suppressed. The cells were co-cultured with the marrows of nine nonrelated donors to investigate the potential genetic restriction of this suppression. Colony suppression equal to that observed in the marrow of the patient and his siblings was found in studies of two partially HLA identical individuals. No suppression was detected in marrow co-cultures of two entirely HLA dissimilar individuals. These results show that suppression of erythropoiesis by a unique subset of T8, Mo1, Ia-positive lymphocytes isolated from a patient with lymphocytosis and erythrocyte aplasia is genetically restricted.
J M Lipton, L M Nadler, G P Canellos, M Kudisch, C S Reiss, D G Nathan