Neutropenia in X-linked agammaglobulinemia

Clin Immunol Immunopathol. 1996 Dec;81(3):271-6. doi: 10.1006/clin.1996.0188.


X-linked agammaglobulinemia (XLA) is usually considered a disorder of B cell development; however, the gene that is defective in XLA encodes a cytoplasmic tyrosine kinase called Btk, that is expressed throughout myeloid as well as B cell differentiation. A review of medical records of patients in whom mutations in Btk had been identified indicated that 13 of 50 patients (26%) had experienced episodes of profound neutropenia. In 12 of the 13 patients, neutropenia was part of the acute illness that precipitated an evaluation for immunodeficiency. These boys were more likely to be less than a year of age at the time of diagnosis and they were less likely to have a family history of immunodeficiency. Neutropenia was associated with staphylococcal or pseudomonas sepsis in 6 of the patients. The duration of neutropenia was variable but was often more than 1 week. Neutropenia was not seen in any patient with XLA receiving intravenous gammaglobulin. Although neutropenia was not associated with any specific mutation in Btk, most of the alterations in this gene in the patients with XLA and neutropenia resulted in the absence of Btk protein or in amino acid substitutions in sites thought to be critical to Btk function. Btk may not be required for neutrophil production under normal circumstances; however, it may play a role in the response to stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Agammaglobulinaemia Tyrosine Kinase
  • Agammaglobulinemia / genetics*
  • Agammaglobulinemia / immunology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Mutation / immunology
  • Neutropenia / genetics*
  • Neutropenia / immunology*
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / genetics
  • X Chromosome*


  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Agammaglobulinaemia Tyrosine Kinase
  • BTK protein, human