Newborn screening (NBS) programs for severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), using the TREC-based assay, have enabled early diagnosis, prompt treatment, and eventually changed the natural history of affected infants. Nevertheless, it was believed that some affected infants with residual T cell, such as patients with MHC II deficiency, will be misdiagnosed by this assay. A full immune workup and genetic analysis using direct Sanger sequencing and whole exome sequencing have been performed to a patient that was identified by the Israeli NBS program for SCID. The patient was found to have severe CD4 lymphopenia with an inverted CD4/CD8 ratio, low TREC levels in peripheral blood, abnormal response to mitogen stimulation, and a skewed T cell receptor repertoire. HLA-DR expression on peripheral blood lymphocytes was undetectable suggesting a diagnosis of MHC II deficiency. Direct sequencing of the RFX5 gene revealed a stop codon change (p. R239X, c. C715T), which could cause the patient’s immune phenotype. His parents were found to be heterozygote carriers for the mutation. Whole exome sequencing could not identify other potential mutations to explain his immunodeficiency. The patient underwent successful conditioned hematopoietic stem cell transplantation from healthy matched unrelated donor and is currently well and alive with full chimerism. Infants with MHC class II deficiency can potentially be identified by the TREC-based assay NBS for SCID. Therefore, MHC II molecules (e.g., HLA-DR) measurement should be part of the confirmatory immune-phenotyping for patients with positive screening results. This will make the diagnosis of such patients straightforward.
- MHC class II
- Newborn screening