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Blood. 2001 Nov 1;98(9):2645-50.

Mutations in the ELA2 gene encoding neutrophil elastase are present in most patients with sporadic severe congenital neutropenia but only in some patients with the familial form of the disease.

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  • 1Department of Haematology, University College London, United Kingdom.


Severe congenital neutropenia (SCN) was originally described as an autosomal recessive disorder. Subsequently, autosomal dominant and sporadic forms of the disease have been recognized. All forms are manifest by persistent severe neutropenia and recurrent bacterial infection. In contrast, cyclical hematopoiesis is characterized by periodic neutropenia inter-spaced with (near) normal neutrophil counts. Recently, linkage analysis on 13 affected pedigrees identified chromosome 19p13.3 as the likely position for mutations in cyclical hematopoiesis. Heterozygous mutations in the ELA2 gene encoding neutrophil elastase were detected in all families studied. Further work also demonstrated mutations in ELA2 in sporadic and autosomal dominant SCN. However, all mutations described to date are heterozygous and thus appear to act in a dominant fashion, which is inconsistent with an autosomal recessive disease. Therefore, the current study investigated whether mutations in ELA2 could account for the disease phenotype in classical autosomal recessive SCN and in the sporadic and autosomal dominant types. All 5 exons of ELA2 and their flanking introns were studied in 18 patients (3 autosomal recessive, 5 autosomal dominant [from 3 kindreds], and 10 sporadic) using direct automated sequencing. No mutations were found in the autosomal recessive families. A point mutation was identified in 1 of 3 autosomal dominant families, and a base substitution was identified in 8 of 10 patients with the sporadic form, though 1 was subsequently shown to be a low-frequency polymorphism. These results suggest that mutations in ELA2 are not responsible for classical autosomal recessive Kostmann syndrome but provide further evidence for the role of ELA2 in SCN.

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