Studies in homosexual patients with and without lymphadenopathy. Relationships to the acquired immune deficiency syndrome

Arch Intern Med. 1984 Jun;144(6):1153-8.


We studied the immunologic function of 19 sexually active homosexual men, ten of whom had persistent lymphadenopathy. Analysis of mononuclear cell populations distinguished homosexuals from heterosexual controls since, as a group, homosexuals had increased percentages of natural killer cells (Leu 7+), decreased helper-inducer T lymphocytes (OKT-4+), increased suppressor/cytotoxic (OKT-8+) T lymphocytes, low OKT-4:OKT-8 ratios, and depressed mitogenic responses. Homosexuals without lymphadenopathy were distinguishable from controls by increased percentages of Ia+ cells, decreased OKT-4+ cells, and decreased OKT-4:OKT-8 ratios. Four had positive findings simultaneously for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and surface antibody, and five had positive findings for HBsAg alone. Homosexuals with lymphadenopathy were distinguishable from controls by increased percentages of Leu 7+ cells, increased total lymphocyte numbers per cubic millimeter, decreased percentages of both OKT-4+ and OKT-8+ cells, abnormal OKT-4:OKT-8 ratios, and depressed mitogenic responses. Only histories of larger numbers of sexually acquired diseases, higher numbers of OKT-8+ cells per cubic millimeter, and lower mitogenic responses in homosexuals with lymphadenopathy distinguished this group from homosexuals without lymphadenopathy. Furthermore, none of the nine patients tested in this group was HBsAg positive. We conclude that homosexuals without lymphadenopathy are distinguishable from those with lymphadenopathy by both immunologic and serologic abnormalities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / complications*
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / immunology
  • Adult
  • Hepatitis B / immunology
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens / analysis
  • Homosexuality*
  • Humans
  • Lymphatic Diseases / complications*
  • Lymphatic Diseases / immunology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Syphilis / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / classification


  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens