Hyper IgM syndrome associated with defective CD40-mediated B cell activation.
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Recent studies show that most patients with X-linked hyper IgM syndrome have defects in the gene for CD40 ligand. We evaluated 17 unrelated males suspected of having X-linked hyper IgM syndrome. Activated T cells from 13 of the 17 patients failed to bind a soluble CD40 construct. In these patients, the sequence of CD40 ligand demonstrated mutations. By contrast, T cells from the remaining four patients exhibited normal binding to the CD40 construct. Sequencing of the cDNA for CD40 ligand from these patients did not show mutations. The possibility that hyper IgM syndrome in these four patients was due to abnormalities in the B cell response to CD40-mediated signals was examined. Peripheral blood lymphocytes were stimulated with anti-CD40 alone, IL4 alone or anti-CD40 plus IL4. In comparison with B cells from controls or patients with hyper IgM syndrome and mutant CD40 ligand, B cells from the patients with hyper IgM syndrome and normal CD40 ligand were defective in their ability to secrete IgE (P < 0.02) or express activation markers, CD25 and CD23 (P < 0.02) in response to stimulation with anti-CD40. The failure of these B cells to respond to CD40-mediated activation could not be attributed to a generalized deficiency in B cell activation because IL4 induced normal up-regulation of CD23 and CD25 expression. These findings indicate that hyper IgM syndrome may result from defects in expression of CD40 ligand by activated T cells or defects in CD40-mediated signal transduction in B cells.
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