To study the capacity of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from patients with sickle cell disease to synthesize antibodies in vitro, the levels of IgM, IgG, and IgA were quantitated in supernatants of cultured PBMC from a group of asymptomatic adults with sickle cell disease and from normal controls. The rates of spontaneous synthesis of IgM were similar in nonstimulated cultures of PBMC from patients and controls, whereas the amounts of IgG and IgA produced spontaneously by nonstimulated lymphocytes from the patients were significantly greater than those from controls. Similar levels of IgM, IgG, and IgA were detected in the supernatants of cultures stimulated with pokeweed mitogen from patients and controls. Thus, the capacity of PBMC to respond in vitro to pokeweed mitogen was preserved in the patients. The enhanced spontaneous synthesis of IgG and IgA suggests the presence of chronic polyclonal activation of B cells and/or defective regulation of the production of antibodies.

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