B cells in ADA deficiency

Melissa Faye Barnes Aldrich, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Deficiency of the enzyme adenosine deaminase (ADA) results in severe lymphopenia in humans. Mice with an inactivating mutation in the ADA gene also exhibit profound lymphopenia, as well as pulmonary insufficiency and ribcage abnormalities. In fact, the mouse model has a phenotype that is remarkably similar to that of the human disease, making the mice valuable tools for unraveling the mechanism of lymphocyte destruction in absence of this housekeeping gene. T cell deficiency in ADA deficiency has been extensively studied by others, revealing a block in early thymocyte development. In contrast, our studies revealed that early B cell development in the bone marrow is normal. ADA-deficient mice, however, exhibit profound defects in germinal center formation, preventing antigen-dependent B cell maturation in the spleen. ADA-deficient spleen B cells display significant defects in proliferation and activation signaling, and produce more IgM than their normal counterparts, suggesting that extrafollicular plasmablasts are overrepresented. B cells from ADA-deficient mouse spleens undergo apoptosis more readily than those from normal mouse spleens. Levels of ADA's substrates, adenosine and 2′-deoxyadenosine, are elevated in both bone marrow and spleen in ADA-deficient mice. S ′-adenosyihomoeysteine hydrolase (SAH hydrolase) activity is significantly inhibited in both locales, as well. dATP levels, though, are only elevated in spleen, where B cell development is impaired, and not in bone marrow, where B cell ontogeny is normal. This finding points to dATP as the causative agent of lymphocyte death in ADA deficiency. ADA deficiency results in inhibition of the enzyme ribonucleotide reductase, thereby depleting nucleoside pools needed for DNA repair. Another mouse model that lacks a functional gene encoding a protein involved in DNA repair and/or cell cycle checkpoint regulation, p53-binding protein 1, exhibits blocks in T and B cell development that are similar to those seen in ADA-deficient mice. Unraveling the mechanisms of lymphocyte destruction in ADA deficiency may further understanding of lymphocyte biology, facilitate better chemotherapeutic treatment for lymphoproliferative diseases, and improve gene and enzyme therapy regimens attempted for ADA deficiency.

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Recommended Citation

Aldrich, Melissa Faye Barnes, "B cells in ADA deficiency" (2003). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3083491.