Autologous mixed lymphocyte reaction (AMLR)-induced suppressor function was studied in 12 patients with chronic idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP). The function was found to be significantly impaired (20 ± 55%; p < 0.005) compared with normal subjects (69 ± 25%). AMLRs in these patients were significantly decreased (p < 0.05) compared with normal subjects. There was no significant correlation between AMLR-induced suppressor function and platelet counts. Nine patients were studied for AMLR-induced suppressor function before and after splenectomy. The platelet counts increased significantly as a result of splenectomy, but the AMLR-induced suppressor function showed no significant improvement. The results of this study suggest that suppressor dysfunction in ITP may be an immunologic defect irrespective of disease activity. We consider that this abnormality may reflect in vivo failure of the immunoregulatory (feedback) mechanism in ITP.

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