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DOI: 10.3390/jcm9030818; PMCID: PMC7141334


Very high IgM levels represent the hallmark of hyper IgM (HIGM) syndromes, a group of primary immunodeficiencies (PIDs) characterized by susceptibility to infections and malignancies. Other PIDs not fulfilling the diagnostic criteria for HIGM syndromes can also be characterized by high IgM levels and susceptibility to malignancies. The aim of this study is to characterize clinical phenotype, immune impairment, and pathogenic mechanism in six patients with very high IgM levels in whom classical HIGM syndromes were ruled out. The immunological analysis included extended B-cell immunophenotyping, evaluation of class switch recombination and somatic hypermutation, and next generation sequencing (NGS). Recurrent or severe infections and chronic lung changes at the diagnosis were reported in five out of six and two out of six patients, respectively. Five out of six patients showed signs of lymphoproliferation and four patients developed malignancies. Four patients showed impaired B-cell homeostasis. Class switch recombination was functional in vivo in all patients. NGS revealed, in one case, a pathogenic mutation in PIK3R1. In a second case, the ITPKB gene, implicated in B- and T-cell development, survival, and activity was identified as a potential candidate gene. Independent of the genetic basis, very high IgM levels represent a risk factor for the development of recurrent infections leading to chronic lung changes, lymphoproliferation, and high risk of malignancies.

Journal Title

J Clin Med






DNA repair; class switch recombination; hyper IgM syndrome; lymphoproliferative disorders; somatic hypermutation


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