A reduction of ADA2 activity due to autosomal recessive loss of function mutations in CECR1 results in a newly described vasculopathic phenotype reminiscent of polyarteritis nodosa, with manifestations ranging from fatal systemic vasculitis with multiple strokes in children to limited cutaneous disease in middle-aged individuals. Evidence indicates that ADA2 is essential for the endothelial integrity of small vessels. However, CECR1 is not expressed, nor is the ADA2 protein detectable, in cultured human endothelial cells, thus implicating additional cell types or circulating factors in disease pathogenesis.
Considering the phenotypic overlap of ADA2 deficiency with the type I interferonopathy Aicardi-Goutières syndrome due to mutations in SAMHD1, we looked for the presence of an interferon signature in the peripheral blood of two newly ascertained ADA2-deficient patients.
We identified biallelic CECR1 mutations in two patients consistent with ADA2 deficiency. Both patients demonstrated an upregulation of interferon stimulated gene transcripts in peripheral blood. More strikingly however, genome-wide analysis revealed a marked overexpression of neutrophil-derived genes, suggesting that the vasculitis seen in ADA2 deficiency may be an indirect effect resulting from chronic and marked activity of neutrophils.
We hypothesise that ADA2 may act as a regulator of neutrophil activation, and that a reduction of ADA2 activity results in significant endothelial damage via a neutrophil-driven process.
Electronic supplementary material
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