• CXCR4;
  • granulomatosis;
  • immunodeficiency;
  • Mycobacterium avium complex;
  • WHIM

Clin Microbiol Infect 2011; 17: 135–139


Disseminated Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) infection is a rare but severe disease mostly seen in patients with AIDS. It has been previously described in patients suffering from other kinds of immunodeficiency (e.g. primary immunodeficiency diseases in children or hairy cell leukaemia). We report two cases of disseminated MAC disease in young women with extended granulomatosis that revealed a new form of severe immunodeficiency syndrome. Both clinical observations initially appeared to be very similar to WHIM syndrome (Warts, Hypogammaglobulinemia, Infection, Myelokathexis), a rare immunodeficiency disease correlated with CXC chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4) mutation leading to an impaired internalization of the receptor upon its ligand CXCL12. We investigated the CXCR4 status of the lymphocytes in both patients and found a severe defect in CXCL12-promoted internalization but no mutation of its gene. Moreover, myelokathexis was not noted in bone marrow biopsies and therefore a diagnosis of WHIM syndrome could not be assessed. This immunodeficiency syndrome associated with CXCR4 dysfunction was responsible for severe MAC infection in our patients, with a fatal outcome in one case. It may be possible that these patients would have benefited from early antimycobacterial infection or azythromycin prophylaxis.