Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 5-14-1962


Patients with multiple myeloma, Hodgkin's disease and other lymphomas have gamma globulin peaks in their serum electrophoretic pattern much above normal; usually, they also have histories of repeated infections, as well as poor antibody response to specific antigens. High serum gamma globulin levels have been noted by some investigators in patients with a variety of diseases associated with chronic infections—including certain chest diseases. The present study consisting of 254 patients and forty-one controls, showed a statistically significant elevation of the serum gamma globulin levels in patients with tuberculosis (active or inactive), bronchiectasis chronic bronchitis, and the infectious type of asthma. On the other hand, patients with allergic asthma or with mixed-type asthma had gamma globulin levels within the normal range. Since some of the patient subjects had high serum gamma globulin levels, it was hypothesized that they might show (as do patients with multiple myeloma, Hodgkin's disease, and other lymphomas) poor antibody response to specific antigens. In order to test this hypothesis, a controlled study was undertaken in which eleven patients with chronic bronchitis and a history in common of repeated respiratory infections and five "normal control subjects" were immunized with diphtheria toxoid, staphage lysate, mumps, influenza, and typhoid-paratyphoid vaccines. Although incomplete, the results obtained from this small series of patients suggest that a factor other than antibody response seems to play an important role in the increased susceptibility of these patients to infections.