We prospectively studied immune reconstitution in 102 children who underwent T-lymphocyte depleted bone marrow transplants using either closely matched unrelated donors or partially matched familial donors by assaying total lymphocyte counts (TLC), T-cell subsets, B cells, and natural killer cells. TLC, CD3+, and CD4+ T-cell counts remained depressed until 2 to 3 years posttransplant, whereas CD8+ T-cell counts normalized by 18 months, resulting in an inverted CD4:CD8 ratio until 12 months posttransplant. Although the percentage of NK cells was elevated early posttransplant, their absolute numbers remained normal. CD20+ B cells were depressed until 12 to 18 months posttransplant. Factors affecting immunophenotypic recovery were analyzed by nonparametric statistics. Younger patients tended to have higher TLC posttransplant. Higher marrow cell doses were not associated with hastened immunophenotypic recovery. Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and/or its treatment significantly delayed the immune reconstitution of CD3+, CD4+, and CD20+ cells. The presence of cytomegalovirus was associated with increased CD8+ counts and a decrease in the percentages of CD4+ and CD20+ cells.

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