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Monoclonal antibodies were used in histopathologic and immunohistologic studies of periapical granulomas. In cellular zones, plasma cells and lymphocytes predominated, with variable numbers of fibroblasts, macrophages, and polymorphonuclear leukocytes. Labeling with monoclonal antibodies disclosed relatively infrequent, usually scattered macrophages. Plasma cells were numerous and frequently clumped. The vast majority of lymphocytes were T cells, scattered individually or in small groups of three or four cells and dispersed throughout the granulomas without any topographic predilection, with prevalence of T-suppressor/cytotoxic cells over T-helper/inducer cells. Our findings of numerous plasma cells, which were in agreement with descriptions of numerous immunoglobulin-producing cells by other authors, imply the participation of antibody-mediated immune reactions in periapical granulomas. The presence of cell-mediated immunity, in spite of numerous T cells, could not be confirmed.
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