Patients with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) have a clonal population of blood cells deficient in glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored (GPI-anchored) proteins, resulting from a mutation in the X-linked gene PIGA. Here we report on a set of patients in whom PNH results instead from biallelic mutation of PIGT on chromosome 20. These PIGT-PNH patients have clinically typical PNH, but they have in addition prominent autoinflammatory features, including recurrent attacks of aseptic meningitis. In all these patients we find a germ-line point mutation in one PIGT allele, whereas the other PIGT allele is removed by somatic deletion of a 20q region comprising maternally imprinted genes implicated in myeloproliferative syndromes. Unlike in PIGA-PNH cells, GPI is synthesized in PIGT-PNH cells and, since its attachment to proteins is blocked, free GPI is expressed on the cell surface. From studies of patients' leukocytes and of PIGT-KO THP-1 cells we show that, through increased IL-1β secretion, activation of the lectin pathway of complement and generation of C5b-9 complexes, free GPI is the agent of autoinflammation. Eculizumab treatment abrogates not only intravascular hemolysis, but also autoinflammation. Thus, PIGT-PNH differs from PIGA-PNH both in the mechanism of clonal expansion and in clinical manifestations.
Keywords: Complement; Glycobiology; Hematology; Inflammation.