Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for severe combined immunodeficiency in the neonatal period leads to superior thymic output and improved survival.
All genetic types of severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) can be cured by stem cell transplantation from related donors. The survival rate approaches 80%, and most deaths result from opportunistic infections acquired before transplantation. It was hypothesized that the survival rate and kinetics of immune reconstitution would be improved for infants receiving transplants in the neonatal period (first 28 days of life), prior to the development of infections. A 19.2-year retrospective/prospective analysis compared immune function in 21 SCID infants receiving transplants in the neonatal period with that in 70 SCID infants receiving transplants later. Lymphocyte phenotypes, proliferative responses to mitogens, immunoglobulin levels, and T-cell antigen receptor excision circles (TRECs) were measured before transplantation and sequentially after transplantation. Of 21 SCID infants with transplantations in the neonatal period, 20 (95%) survive. Neonates were lymphopenic at birth (1118 +/- 128 lymphocytes per cubic millimeter). Infants receiving transplants early developed higher lymphocyte responses to phytohemagglutinin and higher numbers of CD3(+) and CD45RA(+) T cells in the first 3 years of life than those receiving transplants late (P <.05). TRECs peaked earlier and with higher values (P <.01) in the neonatal transplantations (181 days to 1 year) than in the late transplantations (1 to 3 years). SCID recipients of allogeneic, related hematopoietic stem cells in the neonatal period had higher levels of T-cell reconstitution and thymic output and a higher survival rate than those receiving transplants after 28 days of life. An improved outcome for this otherwise fatal syndrome could be achieved with newborn screening for lymphopenia so that transplantation could be performed under favorable thymopoietic conditions.
Myers, LA; Patel, DD; Puck, JM; Buckley, RH
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