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Common variable immunodeficiency disorders (CVID) are a group of heterogeneous conditions that have in common primary failure of B cell function, although numerous T cell abnormalities have been described, including reduced proliferative response and reduced regulatory T cells. This study compared the T cell phenotype of CVID patients subdivided into clinical phenotypes as well as patients with partial antibody deficiencies [immunoglobulin (Ig)G subclass deficiency and selective IgA deficiency], X-linked agammaglobulinaemia (XLA) and healthy and disease controls. Absolute numbers of T cell subpopulations were measured by four-colour flow cytometry: naive T cells, central and effector memory and terminally differentiated (TEM) T cells, using CD45RA and CCR7 expression. Early, intermediate and late differentiation status of T cells was measured by CD27/CD28 expression. Putative follicular T cells, recent thymic emigrants and regulatory T cells were also assessed. Significant reduction in naive CD4 T cells, with reduced total CD4 and recent thymic emigrant numbers, was observed in CVID patients, most pronounced in those with autoimmune cytopenias or polyclonal lymphoproliferation. These findings suggest a lack of replenishment by new thymically derived cells. CD8 naive T cells were reduced in CVID patients, most significantly in the autoimmune cytopenia subgroup. There was a reduction in early differentiated CD4 and CD8 T cells and increased CD8 TEM in the CVID patients, particularly autoimmune cytopenia and polyclonal lymphoproliferation subgroups, suggesting a more activated T cell phenotype, due perhaps to an antigen-driven process. XLA patients had significantly reduced putative follicular T cells, which may depend on B cells for survival, while no significant alterations were observed in the T cells of those with IgG subclass deficiency or selective IgA deficiency.

Original publication




Journal article


Clin Exp Immunol

Publication Date





202 - 211


Adolescent, Adult, Agammaglobulinemia, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Antigens, CD, B-Lymphocyte Subsets, Cell Differentiation, Child, Child, Preschool, Common Variable Immunodeficiency, Female, Genetic Diseases, X-Linked, Humans, Immunoglobulin A, Immunoglobulin G, Infant, Lymphocyte Activation, Male, Middle Aged, Phenotype, Receptors, CCR7, T-Lymphocyte Subsets, Young Adult