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Clin Exp Immunol. 2019 Mar 29. doi: 10.1111/cei.13300. [Epub ahead of print]

Regulatory T cell features in chronic granulomatous disease.

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Department of Blood Cell Research, Sanquin Research, Amsterdam UMC, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Department of Hematopoiesis, Sanquin Research, Amsterdam UMC, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Department of Pediatric Immunology, Rheumatology and Infectious Diseases, Emma's Children Hospital Amsterdam, Amsterdam UMC, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.


Chronic granulomatous disease (CGD) is a primary immunodeficiency caused by mutations in any of the genes encoding the phagocyte nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) oxidase system, responsible for the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). CGD is marked by invasive bacterial and fungal infections and by autoinflammation/autoimmunity, of which the exact pathophysiology remains elusive. Contributing factors include decreased neutrophil apoptosis, impaired apoptotic neutrophil clearance, increased proinflammatory protein expression and reduced ROS-mediated inflammasome dampening. We have explored a fundamentally different potential mechanism: it has been reported that macrophage-mediated induction of regulatory T cells (Tregs ) depends on ROS production. We have investigated whether numerical or functional deficiencies exist in Tregs of CGD patients. As the prevalence of autoinflammation/autoimmunity differs between CGD subtypes, we have also investigated Tregs from gp91phox -, p47phox - and p40phox -deficient CGD patients separately. Results show that Treg numbers and suppressive capacities are not different in CGD patients compared to healthy controls, with the exception that in gp91phox -deficiency effector Treg (eTreg ) numbers are decreased. Expression of Treg markers CD25, inducible T cell co-stimulator (ICOS), Helios, cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen 4 (CTLA-4) and glucocorticoid-induced tumor necrosis factor receptor (GITR) did not provide any clue for differences in Treg functionality or activation state. No correlation was seen between eTreg numbers and patients' clinical phenotype. To conclude, the only difference between Tregs from CGD patients and healthy controls is a decrease in circulating eTregs in gp91phox -deficiency. In terms of autoinflammation/autoimmunity, this group is the most affected. However, upon culture, patient-derived Tregs showed a normal phenotype and normal functional suppressor activity. No other findings pointed towards a role for Tregs in CGD-related autoinflammation/autoimmunity.


chronic granulomatous disease; inflammation; regulatory T cell


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