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Blood. 1997 Feb 1;89(3):902-9.

Missense mutations in the Fas gene resulting in autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome: a molecular and immunological analysis.

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  • 1Consorzio per le Biotecnologie, Servizio di Immunologia Clinica, Spedali Civili di Brescia, Italy.


Programmed cell death (or apoptosis) is a physiological process essential to the normal development and homeostatic maintenance of the immune system. The Fas/Apo-1 receptor plays a crucial role in the regulation of apoptosis, as demonstrated by lymphoproliferation in MRL-lpr/lpr mice and by the recently described autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome (ALPS) in humans, both of which are due to mutations in the Fas gene. We describe a novel family with ALPS in which three affected siblings carry two distinct missense mutations on both the Fas gene alleles and show lack of Fas-induced apoptosis. The children share common clinical features including splenomegaly and lymphadenopathy, but only one developed severe autoimmune manifestations. In all three siblings, we demonstrated the presence of anergic CD3+CD4-CD8- (double negative, [DN]) T cells; moreover, a chronic lymphocyte activation was found, as demonstrated by the presence of high levels of HLA-DR expression on peripheral CD3+ cells and by the presence of high levels of serum activation markers such as soluble interleukin-2 receptor (slL-2R) and soluble CD30 (sCD30).

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