Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I deficiency is a rare disease with remarkable clinical and biological heterogeneity. The spectrum of possible manifestations extends from the complete absence of symptoms to life-threatening disease conditions. It is usually diagnosed when HLA class I serological typing is unsuccessful; flow cytometric studies then reveal a severe reduction in the cell surface expression of HLA class I molecules (90-99% reduction compared to normal cells). In most cases to date, this low expression is due to a homozygous inactivating mutation in one of the two subunits of the transporter associated with antigen processing (TAP), critically involved in the peptide loading of HLA class I molecules. Although asymptomatic cases have been described, TAP deficiencies are usually characterized by chronic bacterial infections of the upper and lower airways, evolving to bronchiectasis, and in half of the cases, also skin ulcers with features of a chronic granulomatous inflammation. Despite the defect in HLA class-I-mediated presentation of viral antigens to cytotoxic T cells, the patients do not suffer from severe viral infections, presumably because of other efficient antiviral defence mechanisms such as antibodies, non-HLA-class-I-restricted cytotoxic effector cells and CD8+ T-cell responses to TAP-independent antigens. Treatment is at present exclusively symptomatic, and should particularly focus on the prevention of bronchiectasis, which requires early detection.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||QJM - Monthly Journal of the Association of Physicians|
|Publication status||Published - Oct 2005|