Hematopoietic stem cell transplant effectively rescues lymphocyte differentiation and function in DOCK8-deficient patients

JCI Insight. 2019 Apr 25;5(11):e127527. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.127527.


Bi-allelic inactivating mutations in DOCK8 cause a combined immunodeficiency characterised by severe pathogen infections, eczema, allergies, malignancy and impaired humoral responses. These clinical features result from functional defects in most lymphocyte lineages. Thus, DOCK8 plays a key role in immune cell function. Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is curative for DOCK8 deficiency. While previous reports have described clinical outcomes for DOCK8 deficiency following HSCT, the effect on lymphocyte reconstitution and function has not been investigated. Our study determined whether defects in lymphocyte differentiation and function in DOCK8-deficient patients were restored following HSCT. DOCK8-deficient T and B lymphocytes exhibited aberrant activation and effector function in vivo and in vitro. Frequencies of αβ T and MAIT cells were reduced while γδT cells were increased in DOCK8-deficient patients. HSCT improved, abnormal lymphocyte function in DOCK8-deficient patients. Elevated total and allergen-specific IgE in DOCK8-deficient patients decreased over time following HSCT. Our results document the extensive catalogue of cellular defects in DOCK8-deficient patients, and the efficacy of HSCT to correct these defects, concurrent with improvements in clinical phenotypes. Overall, our findings provide mechanisms at a functional cellular level for improvements in clinical features of DOCK8 deficiency post-HSCT, identify biomarkers that correlate with improved clinical outcomes, and inform the general dynamics of immune reconstitution in patients with monogenic immune disorders following HSCT.

Keywords: Adaptive immunity; Cellular immune response; Immunology; Infectious disease; Stem cell transplantation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cell Differentiation / immunology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factors / deficiency*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology
  • Job Syndrome / blood
  • Job Syndrome / genetics
  • Job Syndrome / immunology
  • Job Syndrome / therapy*
  • Lymphocyte Activation / genetics
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • DOCK8 protein, human
  • Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factors
  • Immunoglobulin E