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J Pediatr. 1998 Jan;132(1):15-21.

Complete DiGeorge syndrome: persistence of profound immunodeficiency.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.



DiGeorge syndrome is characterized by developmental defects of the heart, parathyroid glands, and thymus. The objective of this study was to determine whether T-cell function spontaneously improves in patients with DiGeorge syndrome who have profoundly depressed T-cell proliferative responses to mitogens at presentation, regardless of the T-cell count.


We conducted a retrospective chart review of eight patients with DiGeorge syndrome who had no proliferative responses to mitogens on presentation.


Despite lack of responsiveness of the patients' peripheral blood lymphocytes to mitogens, T cells were occasionally detected, and the patients' cells often responded to IL-2 and in mixed lymphocyte reactions. Unresponsiveness to mitogens and clinical immunodeficiency persisted without immune-based therapy. One patient is alive and well after immunoreconstitution from thymic transplantation. The others either died early of complications of their disease such as gastroesophageal reflux with aspiration (2 patients) or infection (2 patients) or died after attempts at immunorestorative therapy with IL-2, thymus transplantation, or bone marrow transplantation (3 patients).


Eight patients with DiGeorge syndrome who were first seen with no mitogen responsiveness did not improve spontaneously. We recommend HLA-identical bone marrow transplantation or thymic transplantation for these patients as soon as the diagnosis is confirmed.

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