It is paradoxical that immunodeficiency disorders are associated with autoimmunity. Adenosine deaminase (ADA) deficiency, a cause of X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), is a case in point. In this issue of the JCI, Sauer and colleagues investigate the B cell defects in ADA-deficient patients. They demonstrate that ADA patients receiving enzyme replacement therapy had B cell tolerance checkpoint defects. Remarkably, gene therapy with a retrovirus that expresses ADA resulted in the apparent correction of these defects, with normalization of peripheral B cell autoantibody frequencies. In vitro, agents that either block ADA or overexpress adenosine resulted in altered B cell receptor and TLR signaling. Collectively, these data implicate a B cell–intrinsic mechanism for alterations in B cell tolerance in the setting of partial ADA deficiency that is corrected by gene therapy.
Eline T. Luning Prak