Mendelian Susceptibility to Mycobacterial Disease (MSMD): Clinical, Immunological, and Genetic Features of 22 Patients from 15 Moroccan Kindreds

J Clin Immunol. 2023 Jan 11. doi: 10.1007/s10875-022-01419-x. Online ahead of print.


Purpose: The first molecular evidence of a monogenic predisposition to mycobacteria came from the study of Mendelian susceptibility to mycobacterial disease (MSMD). We aimed to study this Mendelian susceptibility to mycobacterial diseases in Moroccan kindreds through clinical, immunological, and genetic analysis.

Methods: Patients presented with clinical features of MSMD were recruited into this study. We used whole blood samples from patients and age-matched healthy controls. To measure IL-12 and IFN-γ production, samples were activated by BCG plus recombinant human IFN-γ or recombinant human IL-12. Immunological assessments and genetic analysis were also done for patients and their relatives.

Results: Our study involved 22 cases from 15 unrelated Moroccan kindreds. The average age at diagnosis is 4 years. Fourteen patients (64%) were born to consanguineous parents. All patients were vaccinated with the BCG vaccine, and twelve of them (55%) developed locoregional or disseminated BCG infections. The other symptomatic patients had severe tuberculosis and/or recurrent salmonellosis. Genetic mutations were identified on the following genes: IL12RB1 in 8 patients, STAT1 in 7 patients; SPPL2A, IFNGR1, and TYK2 in two patients each; and TBX21 in one patient, with different modes of inheritance. All identified mutations/variants altered production or response to IFN-γ or both.

Conclusion: Severe forms of tuberculosis and complications of BCG vaccination may imply a genetic predisposition present in the Moroccan population. In the presence of these infections, systematic genetic studies became necessary. BCG vaccination is contraindicated in MSMD patients and should be delayed in newborn siblings until the exclusion of a genetic predisposition to mycobacteria.

Keywords: IFN-γ; Mendelian susceptibility; Monogenic; Mycobacteria.