Journal of Clinical Immunology

, Volume 34, Issue 5, pp 561–572 | Cite as

Disturbed B and T cell homeostasis and neogenesis in patients with ataxia telangiectasia

  • Matan Kraus
  • Atar Lev
  • Amos J. Simon
  • Inbal Levran
  • Andrea Nissenkorn
  • Yonit B. Levi
  • Yackov Berkun
  • Ori Efrati
  • Ninette Amariglio
  • Gideon Rechavi
  • Raz Somech
Original Research



Ataxia telangiectasia (AT) is a rare genetic, multi-system disorder characterized by neurodegeneration, chromosome instability, B and T cell immunodeficiency and a predisposition to cancer. We examined immunologic parameters reflecting cell development and proliferation and their relevancy to the clinical phenotype in affected individuals.

Patients and Methods

AT patients from the AT National Clinic in Israel underwent immunological investigation. Their T and B cell workup included lymphocyte subset counts, immunoglobulin levels, responses to mitogenic stimulations, TCR-Vβ families and BCR immunoglobulin heavy chain spectratyping, TCR rearrangement excision circles (TRECs) and Kappa-deleting recombination excision circles (KRECs).


Thirty-seven AT patients (median age 12.7 years, range 4.2–25.1) were evaluated. CD20 B and CD3 T lymphocytes were decreased in 67 % and 64 % of the patients, respectively, while only 33 % of the patients had reduced lymphoproliferative responses. Almost all AT patients displayed extremely low TRECs and KRECs levels, irrespective of their age. Those levels were correlated to one another and to the amounts of CD3+ and CD20+ cells, respectively. Abnormal TCR-Vβ repertoires were found with different degrees of clonality or reduced expression in these AT patients. There was no clear clustering of expansions to specific TCR-Vβ genes. PCR spectratyping analysis of the FR2 IgH BCR gene rearrangements in peripheral blood was abnormal in 50 % of the patients.


The immunodeficiency associated with AT is combined, remains low over time and not progressive. It is characterized by low TREC and KREC copies suggestive of abnormal T and B cell neogenesis.


Ataxia telangiectasia ATM Combined immunodeficiency Kappa-deleting recombination excision circles KREC T cell recombination excision circles TREC 



Ataxia telangiectasia


AT mutated


B-cell receptor


Coding joints


Counts per minutes


Immunoglobulin heavy chain


Intravenous immunoglobulin


Kappa-deleting recombination excision circles


Not done


Peripheral blood mononuclear cell


Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction


Signal joints


T-cell receptor


T-cell receptor excision circle



The Jeffrey Modell Foundation (JMF), the Legacy Heritage Biomedical Science Partnership Program of the Israel Science Foundation and the Chief Scientist Office of the Ministry of Health for their support of Dr. Somech. Esther Eshkol is thanked for editorial assistance. This work was performed in partial fulfillment of the M.D. thesis requirements of the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University (M.K.).

The authors have no financial relationships relevant to this article to disclose.

The authors have no conflicts of interest relevant to this article to disclose.




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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matan Kraus
    • 1
  • Atar Lev
    • 1
  • Amos J. Simon
    • 1
  • Inbal Levran
    • 2
  • Andrea Nissenkorn
    • 3
  • Yonit B. Levi
    • 4
  • Yackov Berkun
    • 5
  • Ori Efrati
    • 6
  • Ninette Amariglio
    • 7
  • Gideon Rechavi
    • 7
  • Raz Somech
    • 8
  1. 1.Pediatric Immunology Unit, Jeffrey Modell Foundation (JMF) Center and Department of PediatricsSheba Medical CenterTel HashomerIsrael
  2. 2.Pediatric Department, Edmond and Lily Safra Children’s HospitalSheba Medical CenterTel HashomerIsrael
  3. 3.Pediatric Neurology Unit, Ataxia Telangiectasia National Clinic, Edmond and Lily Safra Children’s HospitalSheba Medical CenterTel HashomerIsrael
  4. 4.Ataxia Telangiectasia National Clinic, Edmond and Lily Children’s HospitalSheba Medical CenterTel HashomerIsrael
  5. 5.Ataxia Telangiectasia National ClinicHadassah-Hebrew University Medical CenterrMount Scopus JerusalemIsrael
  6. 6.Pediatric Pulmonary Unit, Ataxia Telangiectasia National Clinic, Edmond and Lily Safra Children’s HospitalSheba Medical CenterTel HashomerIsrael
  7. 7.Cancer Research CenterSheba Medical centerTel HashomerIsrael
  8. 8.Cancer Research Center, Pediatric Immunology Unit, Jeffrey Modell Foundation (JMF) Center, Department of Pediatrics, Ataxia Telangiectasia National Clinic, Edmond and Lily Safra Children’s HospitalSheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, affiliated with the Sackler School of Medicine, Tel-Aviv UniversityTel-AvivIsrael

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