Raised serum neopterin levels in patients with primary hypogammaglobulinaemia; correlation to other immunological parameters and to clinical and histological features

Authors

  • P. AUKRUST,

    Corresponding author
    1. Section of Clinical Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Medical Department A, Rikshospitalet, Oslo, Norway
      P. Aukrust, Section of Clinical Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Medical Department A, Rikshospitalet, N-0027 Oslo, Norway.
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  • S. S. FRØLAND,

    1. Section of Clinical Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Medical Department A, Rikshospitalet, Oslo, Norway
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  • F. MÜLLER

    1. Institute of Bacteriology, University of Oslo. The National Hospital, Rikshospitalet, Oslo, Norway
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P. Aukrust, Section of Clinical Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Medical Department A, Rikshospitalet, N-0027 Oslo, Norway.

SUMMARY

Serum neopterin levels were analysed in 43 patients with primary hypogammaglobulinaemia (25 common variable immunodeficiency (CVI), 12 congenital hypogammaglobulinaemia (CH), six X-linked hypogammaglobulinaemia (XLH)), and in 33 healthy controls. The neopterin values were correlated to lymphocyte subset counts in peripheral blood, lymphocyte mitogen responses and clinical and histological manifestations in the study group. Serum neopterin levels were significantly elevated in all subgroups of patients and particularly in the CVI groups where the highest concentrations were found (P < 0.001, CVI versus controls). Furthermore, in CVI and CH patients elevated neopterin levels were strongly correlated to decreased number of CD4+ lymphocytes (rs=– 0.61, P < 0.005 and rs=– 0.83, P < 0.001, respectively). In the CVI group high neopterin levels were also significantly correlated to low number of circulatory B (CD19+) lymphocytes (rs=– 0.58, P < 0.05). Both patients with moderately and those with severely depressed lymphocyte mitogen responses had significantly higher neopterin levels than those with normal responses. In addition, high neopterin levels were significantly associated with the occurrence of splenomegaly and nodular intestinal lymphoid hyperplasia. The immunological findings were consistently observed in longitudinal testing, and appeared to be characteristic for the individual patient. High serum neopterin levels are thought to be a marker for hyperactivity in monocytes/macrophages, and dysfunction of these cells may therefore be associated with fundamental immune pathology in some subgroups of primary hypogammaglobulinaemia.

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