Front Immunol 2017 17;8:798. Epub 2017 Jul 17.
Laboratory of Host Defenses, Division of Intramural Research, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, United States.
Mutations of the recombinase-activating genes 1 and 2 ( and ) in humans are associated with a broad range of phenotypes. For patients with severe clinical presentation, hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) represents the only curative treatment; however, high rates of graft failure and incomplete immune reconstitution have been observed, especially after unconditioned haploidentical transplantation. Studies in mice have shown that natural killer (NK) cells have a mature phenotype, reduced fitness, and increased cytotoxicity. We aimed to analyze NK cell phenotype and function in patients with mutations in and in non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) genes. Here, we provide evidence that NK cells from these patients have an immature phenotype, with significant expansion of CD56 CD16 CD57 cells, yet increased degranulation and high perforin content. Correlation was observed between recombinase activity of the mutant proteins, NK cell abnormalities, and clinical phenotype. Addition of serotherapy in the conditioning regimen, with the aim of depleting the autologous NK cell compartment, may be important to facilitate engraftment and immune reconstitution in patients with RAG and NHEJ defects treated by HSCT.