In a patient with chronic esophageal candidiasis due to C. tropicalis that was refractory to mycostatin and ketoconazole, a generalized cell-mediated immunodeficiency state was detected. Samples of plasma from this patient inhibited T-lymphocyte function, suppressing both rosettte formation and mitogen responsiveness of T-cells derived from the patient and from normal individuals. Following plasma exchange, the patient's immune defect resolved and her candida infection disappeared. On further analysis, the plasma inhibitory factor was found to be of low molecular weight (<10,000) and heat labile. Preliminary studies suggested that this inhibitor was candida-derived, since it was removed from plasma by anti-candida antibodies in solid phase. Immunodeficiency in chronic candidiasis may be improved by removal of circulating inhibitory factors through plasma exchange.
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