Cellular immune status - snapshot of the individual immune system

The quantitative detection of lymphocyte sub-populations is extraordinarily helpful in immune deficiency diagnostics. For instance, depending on their surface markers, this technique can be used to differentiate between CD4 (T helper cells), CD8 (T suppressor cells / cytotoxic T cells), CD19 (B lymphocytes) and CD16/CD56 (NK = natural killer) cells. The percentage of cells that are already activated is calculated based on the characteristics of HLA-DR (long-term activation) or CD38 (acute marker, persisting longer in HIV and virus infections).

Clinically evident symptoms of immunological defence failure, frequent infections with an unusually severe progression, generally high susceptibility to infections, vaccination complications, vaccination failure, unclear lymphopenia or abnormal leukocytosis, pathological immunoglobulin or complement values, monitoring of patients receiving cytostatic or immunosuppressive therapy, monitoring of HIV-infected patients.

Value in immunological step-by-step diagnostics
There is solid evidence of the function of various routinely identifiable lymphocyte populations being involved with maintaining the body’s biological integrity. Since the lymphocyte status is only a part of step-by-step immunological diagnostics, however, a reliable diagnostic statement can only be made if the full blood count, complement factors and activity (CH50) and also the immunoglobulins and possibly even IgG subclasses are determined at the same time. Detailed information must be reported concerning any chemotherapy, immunosuppressive treatment, blood transfusions received and, in particular, clinical data.

Warning against „refrigerator AIDS”

The blood must be tested as soon as possible after it has been taken. The test material may only be stored and transported at room temperature, since the T helper cells are destroyed by the effects of the cold. Circadian rhythms have been described for some lymphocyte sub-populations; for this reason, blood samples should be taken between 8:00 and 10:00 a.m. whenever possible.

Logistical note
2-5 ml of EDTA blood is sufficient for a test. However, since the test consists of several steps and at least 2 working days are required, taking blood samples on the last day of a working week should be avoided. Where possible, we would ask you to make an arrangement with the laboratory by phone.

The normal values of the individual and immunological markers are clear from the findings report.

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