B-chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients frequently suffer from moderate to severe hypogammaglobulinemia. This complication is a serious cause of morbidity and mortality in this disorder. There is recent evidence that natural killer (NK) cells modulate B-cell immunoglobin (Ig) synthesis/secretion. The authors therefore evaluated the circulating NK cells from B-CLL patients on their ability to regulate mitogen-induced B-cell Ig synthesis. Blood, NK cells (CD16+, CD3-) from three B-CLL patients with hypogammaglobulinemia were able to clearly down-regulate the pokeweed mitogen (PWM)-induced-B-cell Ig secretion. In contrast, CD16+, CD3- cells from age-sex-matched controls or B-CLL patients with normal Ig were either nonregulatory or enhanced mitogen-induced B-cell Ig secretion. An alternative explanation for hypogammaglobulinemia in B-CLL patients is the immunomodulation of B- cell Ig production/secretion by CD16+, CD3- blood cells.

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