Heterogeneity of phenotype in two siblings with adenosine deaminase deficiency.
Adenosine deaminase (ADA) deficiency is the cause of about one third of the autosomal recessively inherited cases of severe combined immunodeficiency. Disease severity in ADA deficiency is variable, presumably related in part to heterogeneity in the genotypes causing the disease. We now report on two children in a single family with ADA deficiency who presented with distinct clinical courses. One child presented with severe immunodeficiency and recurrent infections that led to the diagnosis of severe combined immunodeficiency and ADA deficiency at 7 months of age. The older child, who was diagnosed at 3 years of age (after the diagnosis of the younger child), did not have a history of serious or opportunistic infections. Although she was lymphopenic, immune responsiveness was intact, in terms of antibody production, delayed-type hypersensitivity, and in vitro T-cell function. The difference in clinical course in these two siblings is an important observation and demonstrates that the phenotypic expression of ADA deficiency can vary within a family, even in a situation in which protective isolation from infectious pathogens was not a factor in causing the milder course. These observations indicate that expression of disease severity in ADA deficiency may depend to a significant degree on environmental factors and/or on heterogeneity at other genetic loci, which may regulate or modify the expression of the ADA gene or the activity of its product. Furthermore, these observations highlight the importance of recognizing patients with ADA deficiency who present with less severe disease and support the impression that functional immunity in patients with the "late-onset" form of ADA deficiency can deteriorate over time.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
Umetsu, DT; Schlossman, CM; Ochs, HD; Hershfield, MS
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