White cell response to trauma, or to antigen in the absence of specific antibody, consists of macrophages, monocytes, and neutrophils present locally in tissue. In a subject with prior exposure to antigen, this response is augmented by immunologically competent lymphocytes. The balance between immune-competent and immune-neutral cell types provides an index to the quality of host defense mechanisms.
With use of sequential timed coverslip preparations on skin windows, the resistance status of ten burn patients was examined. Moderate burns showed no immunodepression. Severe burns displayed uniform deletion of immune-competent cell elements, and variable depression of nonimmune cell migrations.