Complete DiGeorge syndrome: development of rash, lymphadenopathy, and oligoclonal T cells in 5 cases.
BACKGROUND: Five patients with DiGeorge syndrome presented with infections, skin rashes, and lymphadenopathy after the newborn period. T-cell counts and function varied greatly in each patient. Initial laboratory testing did not suggest athymia in these patients. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to determine whether the patients had significant immunodeficiency. METHODS: Research testing of peripheral blood included immunoscope evaluation of T-cell receptor beta variable gene segment repertoire diversity, quantification of T-cell receptor rearrangement excision circles, and detection of naive T cells (expressing CD45RA and CD62L). RESULTS: The patients were classified as having DiGeorge syndrome on the basis of syndromic associations and heart, parathyroid, and immune abnormalities. Immunoscope evaluation revealed that the T-cell repertoires were strikingly oligoclonal in all patients. There were few recent thymic emigrants, as indicated by the very low numbers of naive T cells (<50/mm(3)) and the absence of T-cell receptor rearrangement excision circles. These studies showed that all 5 patients were athymic. Two patients died, one from infection. No thymus was found during the complete autopsy performed on one patient. CONCLUSION: Patients with DiGeorge syndrome, skin rash, and lymphadenopathy should undergo analysis of naive T-cell numbers and of T-cell receptor beta variability segment repertoire to determine whether they are athymic, even if they have T cells with mitogen responsiveness. It is important for physicians to realize that patients with complete DiGeorge syndrome remain profoundly immunodeficient after development of these atypical features (rash, lymphadenopathy, and oligoclonal T cells). Prompt diagnosis is necessary for appropriate management.
Markert, ML; Alexieff, MJ; Li, J; Sarzotti, M; Ozaki, DA; Devlin, BH; Sempowski, GD; Rhein, ME; Szabolcs, P; Hale, LP; Buckley, RH; Coyne, KE; Rice, HE; Mahaffey, SM; Skinner, MA
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