Background & Aims: The syndrome of immunodysregulation, polyendocrinopathy, enteropathy, X-linked (IPEX) is a rare disorder resulting in the expression of multiple autoimmune and allergic features. Early onset enteropathy and type 1 diabetes (T1D) are the most common clinical features. The IPEX syndrome is caused by mutations of the FOXP3 gene, which is essential for the development of regulatory T cells (Treg). We describe 2 unrelated patients with IPEX syndrome with a mild clinical phenotype and with novel FOXP3 mutations and the phenotypic and functional characterization of their Treg cells. Methods: The FOXP3 gene was analyzed by sequencing amplimers from genomic DNA. Treg cells were characterized by evaluating the number of CD4+CD25+ T cells and their functional ability to suppress the proliferation of autologous CD4+CD25- effector T cells stimulated with anti-CD3 and anti-CD28 antibodies. Results: A 7-year-old boy and a 24-year-old man presented with autoimmune enteropathy characterized by early onset persistent diarrhea not associated with T1D or other endocrinopathies. These 2 patients carry novel FOXP3 mutations that do not abrogate the function of the forkhead domain. They have normal numbers of CD4+CD25+ T lymphocytes, however, these show severely defective suppressive function in vitro. Conclusions: Our 2 patients show that IPEX patients may present with early onset enteropathy and long-term survival without T1D or other endocrinopathies. This milder phenotype may be associated with FOXP3 mutations that do not abrogate the function of the forkhead domain.
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