Both Granulocytic and Non-Granulocytic Blood Cells Are Affected in Patients with Severe Congenital Neutropenia and Their Non-Neutropenic Family Members: An Evaluation of Morphology, Function, and Cell Death
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Objective: To examine granulocytic and non-granulocytic cells in children with severe congenital neutropenia (SCN) and their non-neutropenic parents. Materials and Methods: Fifteen patients with SCN and 21 non-neutropenic parents were evaluated for a) CD95, CD95 ligand, annexin V, propidium iodide, cell cycle, and lymphocyte subsets by flow cytometry; b) rapid cell senescence (of leukocytes) by senescence-associated beta-galactosidase stain; c) aggregation tests by aggregometer; d) in vitro bleeding time by PFA-100 instrument; e) mepacrine-labeled dense granule number of thrombocytes by fluorescence microscope; and f) hematomorphology by light and electron microscope. HAX1, ELANE, G6PC3, CSF3R, and JAGN1 mutations associated with SCN were studied in patients and several parents. Results: Significant increase in apoptosis and secondary necrosis in monocytes, lymphocytes, and granulocytes of the patients and parents was detected, irrespective of the mutation type. CD95 and CD95 ligand results implied that apoptosis was non-CD95-mediated. Leukocytes of 25%, 12.5%, and 0% of patients, parents, and controls showed rapid cell senescence. The cell cycle analysis testable in four cases showed G1 arrest and apoptosis in lymphocytes of three. The patients had HAX1 (n=6), ELANE (n=2), G6PC3 (n=2), and unidentified (n=5) mutations. The CD3, CD4, and NK lymphocytes were below normal levels in 16.6%, 8.3%, and 36.4% of the patients and in 0%, 0%, and 15.4% of the parents (controls: 0%, 0%, 5.6%). The thrombocytes aggregated at low rates, dense granule number/thrombocyte ratio was low, and in vitro bleeding time was prolonged in 37.5%-66.6% of patients and 33.3%-63.2% of parents (vs. 0% in controls). Under electron and/or light microscope, the neutrophils, monocytes, lymphocytes, and thrombocytes in the peripheral blood of both patients and parents were dysplastic and the bone marrow of patients revealed increased phagocytic activity, dysmegakaryopoiesis, and necrotic and apoptotic cells. Ultrastructurally, thrombocyte adhesion, aggregation, and release were inadequate. Conclusion: In cases of SCN, patients' pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells and their non-neutropenic parents are both affected irrespective of the genetic defect.