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A Novel Hypothesis on Excessive Activation of Residual B Lymphocytes in Common Variable Immunodeficiency Concurrent with Aseptic, Erosive Polyarthritis

Ying-Qian Mo, Yan-Nan Zhang, Jun Jing, Jian-Da Ma, Yu-Lan Chen, Chang-You Wu, Lie Dai

(Department of Rheumatology and Immunology, Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hospital, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China (mainland))

Med Sci Monit 2018; 24: HYP4952-4960

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.908926

ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to report aseptic, erosive polyarthritis in a patient with common variable immunodeficiency (CVID), which is quite different from the vastly more common nonerosive form.
Peripheral blood mononuclear cells of the patient were isolated. Flow cytometry was used to analyze the proportion and function of lymphocytes. A Parker-Pearson needle biopsy was performed on the right knee. Four of her unaffected family members were enrolled as controls.
A 21-year-old woman was admitted for recurrent polyarthritis of 3-year duration. The right knee, hip, wrist, proximal interphalangeal joints, and left elbow were involved, with progressive joint destruction. She was diagnosed as having CVID based on her recurrent infections, poor response to vaccines, and marked hypogammaglobulinemia. No bacterium or mycobacterium was detected in synovium or synovial fluid. The synovium was infiltrated by lymphocytes rather than neutrophils. Polyarthritis did not resolve by adequate intravenous immunoglobulin substitution and empirical antibiotic treatment, but resolved gradually after treatment with methylprednisolone and tacrolimus, supporting the diagnosis of aseptic polyarthritis. Further analyses showed that although only 0.5% of residual B lymphocytes were existent in peripheral blood of the patient, expressions of activation marker CD69 and production of IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α were high. Marked infiltration with CD19+B lymphocytes (as well as CD4+ or CD8+ T lymphocytes) was detected in the synovium. The proportion of IL21+CD4+Th cells from peripheral blood of the patient was high. CD4+ Th cells from the patient secreted nearly 3 times more IL-21 than the same cell type analyzed from unaffected family members, perhaps due to excessive compensation to assist the function of residual B lymphocytes.
A novel hypothesis in CVID concurrent with aseptic, erosive polyarthritis is that excessive activation of residual B lymphocytes infiltrate into the synovium of the involved joints and lead to polyarthritis and joint destruction.

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