Children affected by Down's syndrome (DS) have an increased susceptibility to viral or bacterial infections and leukemia, associated with several abnormalities of the immune system. We investigated whether the T cell defect was qualitative in nature and associated with abnormalities of the early events occurring during cell activation. The proliferative response of lymphocytes from DS individuals after CD3 cross-linking was clearly depressed, as already reported. In contrast, phorbol ester and ionomycin were able to induce cell cycle progression in DS, suggesting a defect in the early stages of the signal transduction through a T cell receptor/CD3 (TCR/CD3) complex upstream of protein kinase C activation. The functional impairment in DS was not related either to a decrease of circulating mature-type CD3+ cells, which express high levels of surface of CD3 molecules, or to a decrease of the CD4+ subpopulation. The analysis of phosphotyrosine- containing proteins after the cross-linking of CD3 molecules in DS lymphocytes revealed a partial signaling, characterized by increased phosphorylation of proteins of 42-44 kD, comparable to that observed in control subjects, but not of proteins of 70 and 21 kD. Moreover, although the 'anti-anergic' γ element of IL-2, IL-4, IL-7, and IL-15 receptors was normally tyrosine-phosphorylated during cell activation, the CD3 ζ- associated protein kinase (ZAP-70) was not. Our results indicate that in DS there is a T cell activation defect, characterized by partial signal transduction through a TCR/CD3 complex, and associated with a selective failure of ZAP-70 tyrosine phosphorylation.
|Number of pages||7|
|Publication status||Published - Aug 1998|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health