Infectious Agents and Bone Marrow Failure: A Causal or a Casual Connection?

Front Med (Lausanne). 2021 Nov 4:8:757730. doi: 10.3389/fmed.2021.757730. eCollection 2021.


Acquired bone marrow failure (BMF) syndromes are considered immune-mediated disorders because hematological recovery after immunosuppressive therapies is the strongest indirect evidence of the involvement of immune cells in marrow failure development. Among pathophysiology hypotheses, immune derangement after chronic antigen exposure or cross-reactivity between viral particles and cellular components are the most accepted; however, epitopes against whom these lymphocytes are directed to remain unknown. In this study, we showed that BMF-associated immunodominant clones, namely the most represented T cells carrying an antigen-specific T-cell receptor (TCR) sequence in a random pool, were frequently associated with those described in various infectious diseases, such as cytomegalovirus (CMV) and Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. We hypothesize that these pathogens might elicit an autoimmune response triggered by cross-reactivity between pathogen-related components and proteins or might be expanded as an unspecific response to a global immune dysregulation during BMF. However, those frequent intracellular pathogens might not only be passengers in marrow failure development, while playing a central role in starting the autoimmune response against hematopoietic stem cells.

Keywords: TCR repertoire; bone marrow failure; bone marrow failure syndrome; immune response; infectious diseases.