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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010 Feb;125(2):424-432.e8. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2009.10.059.

Mutations in STAT3 and diagnostic guidelines for hyper-IgE syndrome.

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  • 1Department of Immunology and Molecular Pathology, Royal Free Hospital, University College London, London NW3 2QG, United Kingdom.



The hyper-IgE syndrome (HIES) is a primary immunodeficiency characterized by infections of the lung and skin, elevated serum IgE, and involvement of the soft and bony tissues. Recently, HIES has been associated with heterozygous dominant-negative mutations in the signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) and severe reductions of T(H)17 cells.


To determine whether there is a correlation between the genotype and the phenotype of patients with HIES and to establish diagnostic criteria to distinguish between STAT3 mutated and STAT3 wild-type patients.


We collected clinical data, determined T(H)17 cell numbers, and sequenced STAT3 in 100 patients with a strong clinical suspicion of HIES and serum IgE >1000 IU/mL. We explored diagnostic criteria by using a machine-learning approach to identify which features best predict a STAT3 mutation.


In 64 patients, we identified 31 different STAT3 mutations, 18 of which were novel. These included mutations at splice sites and outside the previously implicated DNA-binding and Src homology 2 domains. A combination of 5 clinical features predicted STAT3 mutations with 85% accuracy. T(H)17 cells were profoundly reduced in patients harboring STAT3 mutations, whereas 10 of 13 patients without mutations had low (<1%) T(H)17 cells but were distinct by markedly reduced IFN-gamma-producing CD4(+)T cells.


We propose the following diagnostic guidelines for STAT3-deficient HIES. Possible: IgE >1000IU/mL plus a weighted score of clinical features >30 based on recurrent pneumonia, newborn rash, pathologic bone fractures, characteristic face, and high palate. Probable: These characteristics plus lack of T(H)17 cells or a family history for definitive HIES. Definitive: These characteristics plus a dominant-negative heterozygous mutation in STAT3.

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