Disturbed B and T cell homeostasis and neogenesis in patients with ataxia telangiectasia

Matan Kraus, Atar Lev, Amos J. Simon, Inbal Levran, Andrea Nissenkorn, Yonit B. Levi, Yackov Berkun, Ori Efrati, Ninette Amariglio, Gideon Rechavi, Raz Somech

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Objective: Ataxia telangiectasia (AT) is a rare genetic, multi-system disorder characterized by neurodegeneration, chromosome instability, B and T cell immunodeficiency and a predisposition to cancer. We examined immunologic parameters reflecting cell development and proliferation and their relevancy to the clinical phenotype in affected individuals. Patients and Methods: AT patients from the AT National Clinic in Israel underwent immunological investigation. Their T and B cell workup included lymphocyte subset counts, immunoglobulin levels, responses to mitogenic stimulations, TCR-Vβ families and BCR immunoglobulin heavy chain spectratyping, TCR rearrangement excision circles (TRECs) and Kappa-deleting recombination excision circles (KRECs). Results: Thirty-seven AT patients (median age 12.7 years, range 4.2-25.1) were evaluated. CD20 B and CD3 T lymphocytes were decreased in 67 % and 64 % of the patients, respectively, while only 33 % of the patients had reduced lymphoproliferative responses. Almost all AT patients displayed extremely low TRECs and KRECs levels, irrespective of their age. Those levels were correlated to one another and to the amounts of CD3+ and CD20+ cells, respectively. Abnormal TCR-Vβ repertoires were found with different degrees of clonality or reduced expression in these AT patients. There was no clear clustering of expansions to specific TCR-Vβ genes. PCR spectratyping analysis of the FR2 IgH BCR gene rearrangements in peripheral blood was abnormal in 50 % of the patients. Conclusion: The immunodeficiency associated with AT is combined, remains low over time and not progressive. It is characterized by low TREC and KREC copies suggestive of abnormal T and B cell neogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)561-572
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Clinical Immunology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments The Jeffrey Modell Foundation (JMF), the Legacy Heritage Biomedical Science Partnership Program of the Israel Science Foundation and the Chief Scientist Office of the Ministry of Health for their support of Dr. Somech. Esther Eshkol is thanked for editorial assistance. This work was performed in partial fulfillment of the M.D. thesis requirements of the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University (M.K.).


  • ATM
  • Ataxia telangiectasia
  • Combined immunodeficiency
  • KREC
  • Kappa-deleting recombination excision circles
  • T cell recombination excision circles
  • TREC


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