OBJECTIVE--To devise assays to assess and follow the specific antibody response in patients treated with streptokinase for acute myocardial infarction. DESIGN--Venous blood samples were collected before treatment with streptokinase started and subsequently at regular intervals over one year. Specific IgG and subclass IgG1 were assessed by an enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. SETTING--Coronary care unit in a general hospital. PATIENTS--48 patients with acute myocardial infarction: 22 patients had venous blood samples taken at presentation only; serial blood samples were taken from 20 patients who then received thrombolytic therapy with streptokinase and six patients who were unsuitable for thrombolytic therapy. RESULTS--Titres of antibodies to streptokinase were low at presentation in 36 (75%) of the 48 patients. Serial measurements made in 20 patients showed the virtual disappearance of antibody within the first 24 hours. This was followed by a steady increase in the specific IgG1 titre, which peaked at day 14 before gradually declining. Values at one year remained significantly higher than baseline values. There was no evidence of an IgM response in the patients studied. CONCLUSION--Low titres of antibodies to streptokinase were widespread in the population. Antibody was consumed after treatment and the subsequent immunoglobulin rise suggested a secondary immune responses; the recently described neutralising capacity to streptokinase is probably related to this antibody.
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