, Volume 21, Issue 6, pp 549-558

Defective expression of HLA class I antigens: A case of the bare lymphocyte without immunodeficiency

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A case of the bare lymphocyte without apparent immunodeficiency was observed in a 33-year-old woman who had no history of severe infections but suffered from sino-bronchial disease. No HLA-A and -B antigens (class I antigens) were detected at the cell surface of lymphocytes, granulocytes, and platelets, but they were expressed, although at a reduced level, on the cultured B lymphoid cell line. T lymphocytes were normal in number and in the relative proportion of T4/T8 and responded to mitogens but not to PPD and candida. HLA-DR antigens (class II antigens) were present on B lymphocytes and showed intermediate MLR-stimulatory capacity, which made it possible to deduce the patient's HLA genotype. She was found to be homozygous at consanguinity for HLA-A, -B, and -DR antigens. The numbers of B lymphocytes, immunoglobulins, and complements were all in the normal range; there was, however, a low level of IgM. Two-dimensional gel analysis of class I antigens revealed the presence of normally expressed beta-2 microglobulins (B2M) and an apparently single set of class I heavy chains, allowing us to consider two alternative cellular mechanisms in this defect; the presence of one abnormal class I structural gene and the regulatory mechanism that acted in cis were suggested.