Severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) and X-linked agammaglobulinemia (XLA) are inborn errors of immune function that require prompt diagnosis and treatment to prevent life-threatening infections. The lack of functional T or B lymphocytes in these diseases serves as a diagnostic criterion and can be applied to neonatal screening. A robust triplex PCR method for quantitation of T-cell receptor excision circles (TRECs) and ?-deleting recombination excision circles (KRECs), using a single Guthrie card punch, was developed and validated in a cohort of 2560 anonymized newborn screening cards and in 49 original stored Guthrie cards from patients diagnosed with SCID, XLA, ataxia-telangiectasia, Nijmegen-breakage-syndrome, common variable immunodeficiency, immunoglobulin A deficiency, or X-linked hyper-IgM syndrome. Simultaneous measurement of TREC and KREC copy numbers in Guthrie card samples readily identified patients with SCID, XLA, ataxia-telangiectasia and Nijmegen-breakage-syndrome and thus facilitates effective newborn screening for severe immunodeficiency syndromes characterized by the absence of T or B cells.
Immunoglobulin A deficiency (IgAD) is the most common primary immunodeficiency, with suggested association with various types of autoimmunity, including Graves disease. This study investigated the association of IgAD with elevated thyrotropin-receptor autoantibodies (TRAb). IgA was measured in TRAb-seropositive individuals from both Iceland (N = 299] and Sweden (N = 841]. In addition, TRAb levels were evaluated in 43 Icelandic and 50 Swedish IgAD individuals using Medizym TRA immunoassay, and positive samples were re-evaluated using BRAHMS TRAK human RIA. The IgAD individuals were HLA-genotyped to determine the HLA-B, DR, and DQ alleles. None of the 299 Icelandic TRAb-seropositive individuals had IgAD, whereas, a high prevalence of IgAD (14/841 (1:60)) was observed in the Swedish cohort (p = 0.027). The prevalence of TRAb-seropositivity in IgAD individuals was, however, increased in both cohorts. The HLA-DQ6 allele was associated with TRAb-seronegativity within the Icelandic IgAD cohort (p = 0.037). The prevalence of IgAD in TRAb-seropositive individuals in Sweden is 10 times higher than expected in the general population. Furthermore, TRAb seropositivity is common among IgAD individuals, both in Iceland and Sweden, suggesting a predisposition toward Graves disease. These findings underline the significant association of IgAD with autoimmunity and its possible association with certain HLA-DQ alleles.
Selective IgA deficiency in early life is quite common in Caucasian populations, but it is unclear whether it increases the risk of infections and allergic diseases during childhood. Serum IgA levels were measured in 2423 children at 4 years of age in a Swedish population based birth cohort (BAMSE). Parental questionnaires were repeatedly sent out during the childs first 8 years of life, collecting information about infections and allergic diseases. 14 children (1:173) were found to be IgA deficient at 4 years of age. These children had an increased risk of pseudocroup at year 1 (p<0.01) and food hypersensitivity at year 4 (p<0.05) as compared to IgA sufficient children. No increased risk was observed in the partial IgA deficiency group. The findings suggest that selective IgA deficiency may increase the risk of parentally reported pseudocroup and food hypersensitivity during early childhood.
Dried blood spot samples (DBSS) from newborns are widely used in neonatal screening for selected metabolic diseases and diagnostic possibilities for additional disorders are continuously being evaluated. Primary immunodeficiency disorders comprise a group of more than one hundred diseases, several of which are fatal early in life. Yet, a majority of the patients are not diagnosed due to lack of high-throughput screening methods.
There is a need for neonatal screening tools to improve the long-term clinical outcome of patients with primary immunodeficiency diseases (PID). Recently, a PCR-based screening method for both TRECs and KRECs using Guthrie card samples has been developed. However, the applicability of these excision circle assays is limited to patients with severe T or B cell lymphopenia (SCID, XLA and A-T), whereas the most common forms of PID are not detected. Absence of serum IgA is seen in a major fraction of patients with immunological defects. As serum IgA in newborns is considered to be of fetal origin, eluates from routinely collected dried blood spot samples might thus be suitable for identification of children with PID. To assess the applicability of such screening assays, stored Guthrie card samples were obtained from 47 patients with various forms of primary immunodeficiency diseases (SCID, XLA, A-T, HIGM and IgAD), 20 individuals with normal serum IgA levels born to IgA-deficient mothers and 51 matched healthy newborns. Surprisingly, normal serum IgA levels were found in all SCID, XLA, A-T and HIGM patients and, additionally, in all those IgAD patients born to IgA-sufficient mothers. Conversely, no serum IgA was found in any of the 16 IgAD patients born by IgA-deficient mothers. Moreover, half of the IgA-sufficient individuals born by IgA-deficient mothers also lacked IgA at birth whereas no IgA-deficient individuals were found among the controls. IgA in neonatal dried blood samples thus appears to be of both maternal and fetal origin and precludes its use as a reliable marker for neonatal screening of primary immunodeficiency diseases.
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