Elevated serum interleukin (IL)-12p40 levels in common variable immunodeficiency disease and decreased peripheral blood dendritic cells: analysis of IL-12p40 and interferon-γ gene

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Common variable immunodeficiency disease (CVID) is a heterogeneous syndrome characterized by low immunoglobulin serum levels and recurrent bacterial infections. Several studies suggest that CVID patients have a polarized immune response towards a T helper type 1 phenotype (TH1). However, the factors causing the TH1 polarization remain to be determined in this disease. In the present study, serum interleukin (IL)-12, interferon (IFN)-γ levels and the IL-12p40 and IFN-γ gene were studied in CVID patients. Furthermore, we evaluate dendritic cells (DCs) compartment, myeloid dendritic cells (mDCs) and plasmocytoid dendritic cells (pDCs), which help to differentiate naive T cells preferentially into TH1 and TH2, respectively. The serum IL-12p40 subunit levels were increased significantly in CVID patients compared to healthy controls. We examined whether these elevated serum IL-12p40 levels are associated with IFN-γ or IL-12p40 gene polymorphisms, or with new mutations in the IL-12p40 promoter gene. In our hands, no new mutations were found and gene polymorphisms frequencies in CVID patients were similar to the control population. In conclusion, the elevated serum levels of IL-12p40 found in our CVID patients were not related to these genetic variations. The DC compartment analysis did not show an imbalance between pDCs and mDCs, but revealed the presence of low numbers and percentage of both DC populations in CVID.

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