Sequencing the B Cell Receptor Repertoires of Antibody-Deficient Individuals With and Without Infection Susceptibility

J Clin Immunol. 2023 Jul;43(5):940-950. doi: 10.1007/s10875-023-01448-0. Epub 2023 Feb 24.


Purpose: Most individuals with antibody deficiency (hypogammaglobulinemia) need immunoglobulin replacement therapy (IgG-RT) from healthy plasma donors to stay clear of infections. However, a small subset of hypogammaglobulinemic patients do not require this substitution therapy. We set out to investigate this clinical conundrum by asking whether the peripheral B cell receptor repertoires differ between antibody-deficient patients who do and do not need IgG-RT.

Methods: We sequenced and analyzed IgG and IgM heavy chain B cell receptor repertoires from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) isolated from patients with low serum IgG concentrations who did or did not require IgG-RT.

Results: Compared to the patients who did not need IgG-RT, those who needed IgG-RT had higher numbers of IgG antibody clones, higher IgM diversity, and less oligoclonal IgG and IgM repertoires. The patient cohorts had different heavy chain variable gene usage, and the patients who needed IgG-RT had elevated frequencies of IgG clones with higher germline identity (i.e., fewer somatic hypermutations).

Conclusion: Antibody-deficient patients with infection susceptibility who needed IgG-RT had more diverse peripheral antibody repertoires that were less diverged from germline and thus may not be as optimal for targeting pathogens, possibly contributing to infection susceptibility.

Keywords: Antibody repertoire sequencing; hypogammaglobulinemia; infection susceptibility.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G*
  • Immunoglobulin M
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear*
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell / genetics


  • Immunoglobulin M
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell