Advances in genomic medicine have elucidated an increasing number of genetic etiologies for patients with common variable immunodeficiency (CVID). However, there is heterogeneity in clinical and immunophenotypic presentations and a limited understanding of the underlying pathophysiology of many cases. The primary defects in CVID may extend beyond the adaptive immune system, and the combined defect in both the myeloid and lymphoid compartments suggests the mechanism may involve bone marrow output and earlier progenitors. Using the methylation profile of the human androgen receptor (AR) gene as a surrogate epigenetic marker for bone marrow clonality, we examined the hematopoietic compartments of patients with CVID. Our data show that clonal hematopoiesis is common among patients with adult-onset CVID who do not have associated noninfectious complications. Nonblood tissues did not show a skewed AR methylation status, supporting a model of an acquired clonal hematopoietic event. Attenuation of memory B cell differentiation into long-lived plasma cells (CD20–CD27+CD38+CD138+) was associated with marked changes in the postdifferentiation methylation profile, demonstrating the functional consequence of clonal hematopoiesis on humoral immunity in these patients. This study sheds light on a potential etiology of a subset of patients with CVID, and the findings suggest that it is a stage of an acquired lymphocyte maturation disorder.
Gabriel K. Wong, Sara Barmettler, James M. Heather, David Millar, Sarah A. Penny, Aarnoud Huissoon, Alex Richter, Mark Cobbold