Skin biopsies from leukaemic patients undergoing allogeneic bone marrow transplantations and treated prophylactically with cyclosporin A were analysed using histological, morphometric, and immunohistological techniques. Samples from donors were used to establish normal values. Biopsies taken from recipients two days before grafting were all histologically normal, but on immunohistological staining half of them showed a reduction in the number of epidermal Langerhans' cells and 29% a reduction in T inducer lymphocytes. Thirty two biopsies were taken from patients with rashes at various times after transplantation: 14 showed lichenoid changes consistent with graft versus host disease, three eczematous tissue reactions, two vesicular lesions, and 12 no histological abnormality. One sample showed changes intermediate between the lichenoid and eczematous forms. The numbers of epidermal Langerhans' cells were low during the first few weeks after transplantation and were normal or raised later regardless of histological appearances. Unlike epidermal Langerhans' cells, significant reductions in the numbers of lymphocytes were not seen. Lesions of all histological types contained mixtures of T inducer and T suppressor/cytotoxic cells, although the eczematous and vesicular lesions contained higher proportions of T inducer cells. Epidermal infiltrates invariably contained T suppressor/cytotoxic cells but infiltration of epidermis by T inducer cells occurred only in the presence of normal numbers of epidermal Langerhans' cells. Natural killer cells were not identified. The immunological appearances of the various histological subgroups thus change with time after transplantation.
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