Elimination of neoplastic B cell populations from autologous bone marrow grafts also removes normal B lymphocytes. This is potentially hazardous for the reconstitution of the immune system in patients undergoing high-dose chemotherapy and total body irradiation followed by autologous marrow rescue. Five pediatric patients with B cell non- Hodgkin's lymphoma in first remission undergoing such a regimen were studied. They received bone marrow pretreated with anti-Y 29/55 monoclonal antibody and complement. B and T lymphocyte subpopulations reached normal levels within 6 months after autologous bone marrow transplantation (ABMT), and serum immunoglobulin levels became normal within 4 to 9 months. Vaccination with diphtheria and tetanus toxoid, trivalent poliomyelitis vaccine of the Salk type, and pneumococcal capsular antigens (38 to 54 months after transplantation) gave rise to specific antibody production. ABO isoagglutinins could be demonstrated in all patients. The response pattern was similar to that of patients who received unmanipulated autologous bone marrow. It is concluded that ex vivo anti-Y 29/55 depletion of the marrow graft does not induce relevant disturbances of humoral immune functions.

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