Case Report: Susceptibility to viral infections and secondary hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis responsive to intravenous immunoglobulin as primary manifestations of adenosine deaminase 2 deficiency

Front Immunol. 2022 Sep 9:13:937108. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2022.937108. eCollection 2022.


Deficiency of adenosine deaminase 2 (DADA2) is an autosomal recessive disease associated with a highly variable clinical presentation, including systemic vasculitis, immunodeficiency, and cytopenia. We report a case of a 16-year-old girl affected by recurrent viral infections [including cytomegalovirus (CMV)-related hepatitis and measles vaccine virus-associated manifestations] and persistent inflammation, which occurred after Parvovirus infection and complicated by secondary hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH). HLH's first episode presented at 6 years of age and was preceded by persistent fever and arthralgia with evidence of Parvovirus B19 infection. The episode responded to intravenous steroids but relapsed during steroids tapering. High-dose intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) helped manage her clinical symptoms and systemic inflammation. The frequency of IVIG administration and the dosage were progressively reduced. At the age of 9, she experienced varicella zoster virus (VZV) reactivation followed by the recurrence of the inflammatory phenotype complicated by HLH with neurological involvement. Again, high-dose steroids and monthly IVIG resulted in a quick response. Targeted next-generation sequencing (NGS) for autoinflammatory diseases and immunodeficiencies revealed the homozygous Leu183Pro ADA2 mutation, which was confirmed by Sanger analysis. ADA2 enzymatic test showed a complete loss of ADA2 activity. For about 3 years, IVIG alone was completely effective in preventing flares of inflammation and neurological manifestations. Anti-TNF treatment was started at the age of 13 for the appearance of recurrent genital ulcers, with a complete response. This case further expands the clinical spectrum of DADA2 and emphasizes the importance of extensive genetic testing in clinical phenotypes characterized by persistent unspecific inflammatory syndromes. The use of high doses of IVIG might represent a possible effective immune modulator, especially in combination with anti-TNF treatment.

Keywords: dada2; hemophagocitic lymphohistiocytosis; immunoglobulin; therapy; viral infection.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Deaminase / genetics
  • Agammaglobulinemia
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous / therapeutic use
  • Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes*
  • Inflammation
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Lymphohistiocytosis, Hemophagocytic* / diagnosis
  • Lymphohistiocytosis, Hemophagocytic* / drug therapy
  • Lymphohistiocytosis, Hemophagocytic* / etiology
  • Measles Vaccine
  • Polyarteritis Nodosa*
  • Severe Combined Immunodeficiency
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Inhibitors
  • Virus Diseases*


  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Measles Vaccine
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Inhibitors
  • Adenosine Deaminase

Supplementary concepts

  • Severe combined immunodeficiency due to adenosine deaminase deficiency