Impaired specific antibody response and increased B-cell population in transient hypogammaglobulinemia of infancy
Transient hypogammaglobulinemia of infancy (THI) is a heterogeneous disorder with poorly understood pathophysiology. To better characterize THI and improve understanding of its pathophysiology. Twenty-four children with hypogammaglobulinemia defined by an IgG level less than 2 SDs below the mean on 2 occasions, who did not have other immunologic diagnoses, were followed and retrospectively reviewed. The average z-score for IgG level at presentation was -2.4 (mean age, 12 months; median age, 8 months), with a mean level of 254 mg/dL. Thirteen of 24 patients had IgA levels less than 2 SDs below the mean, 5 had IgM levels less than 2 SDs below the mean, and 7 of 23 had elevated IgE levels. Eighteen were followed up until their IgG levels normalized (mean age, 27 months; median age, 23 months), with 12 of 18 normalizing by 24 months and the remainder by 59 months. There was a significant association between presenting IgG z-score and duration of disease (P = .05). Five of the 18 patients had absolute CD19+ B-cell counts greater than the 95% percentile for age (P < .001), and the mean percentage and absolute CD19+ B-cell count across all patients were greater than those of the age-matched controls (P = .02). Most patients had nonprotective titers to Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine, and one third had nonprotective titers to tetanus vaccine. Twenty patients carried at least one atopic diagnosis, and 13 of those had recurrent wheezing. THI is associated with a number of immunologic abnormalities beyond just hypogammaglobulinemia. These abnormalities include impaired specific antibody responses and increased proportions of CD19+ B cells and may be suggestive of particular immunologic mechanisms that result in hypogammaglobulinemia.