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Clin Exp Immunol. 1995 Oct;102(1):17-25.

B cells from a distinct subset of patients with common variable immunodeficiency (CVID) have increased CD95 (Apo-1/fas), diminished CD38 expression, and undergo enhanced apoptosis.

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Hart and Louise Lyon Laboratory, University of California Los Angeles School of Medicine, USA.


We investigated the role of apoptosis in the differentiation failure of B cells from a selected subpopulation of patients with CVID delineated by B cell surface marker analysis, in vitro IgE response, and molecular markers of B cell VH gene repertoire. These patients had altered display of B cell surface molecules that play a role in apoptosis. The patients' B cells had a 4.5-250-fold increase in CD95 (Apo-1, fas) expression and increased CD95 display on their T cells. CD38, a molecule important in preventing germinal centre B cell apoptosis, was reduced on the patients' B cells. The expression of this molecule was inducible on the CVID lymphocytes with retinoic acid. Increased spontaneous apoptosis in vitro was observed with the patients' B (23%) and T cells (10%) compared with normal cells (13% and 3%, respectively). Stimulation in vitro with IL-4 and CD40 rescued the B cells from apoptosis and allowed for their differentiation. However, IL-4 plus alpha CD40-driven immunoglobulin production was not quantitatively or qualitatively normal. Failure to overcome apoptosis, a normal step in germinal centre B cell development, may be involved in the lack of differentiation seen in this subset of CVID patients.

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