The blood lymphocytes of 37 splenectomised patients were analysed by means of T and B lymphocyte surface markers. Sixteen patients had had a splenectomy for non-haematological and 21 for haematological reasons. The results show that 15 had normal numbers of T and B cells; decreased T cells were found in two patients, raised B cells in seven, raised T and B cells in eight, and raised T cells in five patients. Increased numbers of 'null' cells were observed in some patients, especially in those with raised B cells. Follow-up studies indicate that raised levels of T and B cells can be established by one to three months post-splenectomy and may persist, although in some patients the cells fall to normal levels. The lymphocyte proliferative response to phytohaemagglutinin and Concanavalin A in vitro was normal in eight out of nine patients with raised T cells and was depressed in one patient, possibly due to an intrinsic cell defect.
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