Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Blood. 2002 Oct 15;100(8):2891-8.

Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis is associated with deficiencies of cellular cytolysis but normal expression of transcripts relevant to killer-cell-induced apoptosis.

Author information

Section of Experimental Anesthesiology, Departments of Anesthesiology, Clinical Chemistry, and Biometry and Medical Documentation, University of Ulm, Germany.


In 65 patients with hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH), we found an as yet undescribed heterogeneity of defects in cellular cytotoxicity when assay conditions were modified by the incubation time, the presence of mitogen, or interleukin-2 (IL-2). The standard 4-hour natural killer (NK) test against K562 targets was negative in all patients. In patients deficient in type 1 (n = 21), type 2 (n = 5), and type 4 (n = 8) HLH, negative NK function could be reconstituted by mitogen, by IL-2, or by prolongation of the incubation time (16 hours), respectively. Most patients (n = 31) displayed the type 3 defect, defined by a lack of any cellular cytotoxicity independent of assay variations. The characteristic hypercytokinemia also concerned counterregulatory cytokines, such as proinflammatory interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma), simultaneously elevated with suppressive IL-10 in 38% of types 1-, 2-, and 4-deficient patients and in 71% of type 3-deficient patients. Elevated IFN-gamma alone correlated with high liver enzymes, but sCD95-ligand and sCD25 did not-though these markers were expected to indicate the extent of histiocytic organ infiltration. Outcome analysis revealed more deaths in patients with type 3 deficiency (P =.017). Molecular defects were associated with homozygously mutated perforin only in 4 patients, but other type 3 patients expressed normal transcripts of effector molecules for target-cell apoptosis, including perforin and granzyme family members, as demonstrated by RNase protection analysis. Thus, target-cell recognition or differentiation defects are likely to explain this severe phenotype in HLH. Hyperactive phagocytes combined with NK defects may imply defects on the level of the antigen-presenting cell.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Support Center