Transient improvement of polymorphonuclear leukocyte function by splenectomy in β-thalassemia

P. E. Lianou, H. P. Bassaris*, A. T. Skoutelis, E. G. Votta, J. T. Papavassiliou, J. P. Phair

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Host defense mechanisms in transfusion-dependent non-splenectomized patients with β-thalassemia were studied. Polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNLs) of non-splenectomized patients responded poorly to zymosan generated chemotactic factors. Chemotactic indices were 22.1 μm ± 2.8 (mean ± S.D.) using zymosan activated serum (ZAS) as the attractant in comparison to 20.4 μm ± 2.6 when fresh untreated serum was used. In contrast, chemotactic indices of normal PMNLs increased from 21.1 μm to 33.6 μm ± 3.1 in response to ZAS. Normal PMNL responses to a mixture of normal ZAS and thalassemic serum were inhibited; the mean chemotactic index was 18.1 μm ± 5.1 with use of ZAS alone. Splenectomy temporarily reverses these alterations. Adherence to nylon wool of PMNLs suspended in fresh thalassemic serum prior to splenectomy was 3.1% ± 1.1 (mean ± S.D.); 20 days after splenectomy adherence increased to 14.0% ± 2.8 (P = 0.0001) and remained at this level for 90 days. At 120 and 150 days after splenectomy adherence decreased to 1.5% ± 0.8 and 1.0% ± 0.85 respectively. Splenectomy also transiently abrogated the failure of zymosan to generate chemotactic factors in thalassemic serum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-215
Number of pages7
JournalMedical Microbiology and Immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology (medical)


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