Thrombosis and haemostasis vol:51 issue:2 pages:207-11
We studied immune function in Belgian haemophiliacs treated with Factor VIII from volunteer donors. No patient had clinical evidence of immune deficiency. We found a decrease in T-helper cells (p less than 0.0005), in the ratio of T-helper over T-cytotoxic/suppressor cells (1.72 +/- 0.47 versus 2.24 +/- 0.82 in controls, p less than 0.005) and in lymphocyte responsiveness to mitogens (p less than 0.05). These findings could not be linked to the amount of F VIII received over the last year, the time since last F VIII administration, circulating immune complexes (54% positive patients, 7% positive controls, p less than 0.005), increased ALT levels, antibodies to cytomegalo -virus (85% of the patients, 45% of the controls, p less than 0.005), antibodies to Epstein-Barr virus, nor to the presence of HLA-DR 5 which was found in 56% of the haemophiliacs (20% of the overall Belgian population, p less than 0.005). Either F VIII induces long lasting immunological alterations unrelated to AIDS, or haemophilia is itself associated with such changes.