The autologous mixed lymphocyte reaction (MLR) is severely impaired in patients with acute infectious mononucleosis. Reactivity returned during the course of convalescence. The allogeneic MLR was not impaired in these patients. B cells from patients with infectious mononucleosis do not stimulate autologous T-cell proliferation, and this observation appears to explain the cellular basis of the impaired autologous MLR in infection. Two explanations for the B-cell defect were considered: (a) the influence of serum factors on B-cell function and (b) the effect of Epstein-Barr virus infection.

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