Sex and urbanicity contribute to variation in lymphocyte distribution across Ugandan populations

Prossy Naluyima, Leigh Anne Eller, Benson J. Ouma, Denis Kyabaggu, Peter Kataaha, David Guwatudde, Hannah Kibuuka, Fred Wabwire-Mangen, Merlin L. Robb, Nelson L. Michael, Mark S. Souza, Johan K. Sandberg, Michael A. Eller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Management of patient care and interpretation of research data require evaluation of laboratory results in the context of reference data from populations with known health status to adequately diagnose disease or make a physiological assessment. Few studies have addressed the diversity of lymphocyte subsets in rural and urban Ugandan populations. Here, 663 healthy blood bank donors from semi-urban centers of Kampala consented to participate in a study to define lymphocyte reference ranges. Whole blood immunophenotyping was performed to determine the frequency and absolute counts of T, B, and NK cells using clinical flow cytometry. Results from blood bank donors were compared to a rural cohort from the district of Kayunga and more urban clinical trial participants from the capital city, Kampala. Relationships between hematological and lymphocyte parameters were also explored. In the semi-urban blood donors, females were significantly different from males in all parameters except the frequency of CD8 T and B cells. Females had higher absolute counts of CD4 T, CD8 T and B cells, whereas males had higher NK cell counts. NK cell frequency and counts were significantly higher in semi-urban blood donors, regardless of sex, compared to more urban study participants. CD8 T cell frequency and counts were significantly higher in the blood donors compared to the rural participants, irrespective of sex. Interestingly, basophil counts were positively associated with overall T cell counts. These findings suggest that both sex and level of cohort urbanicity may influence lymphocyte subset distributions in Ugandans.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0146196
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1
StatePublished - 5 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


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