Kawasaki Disease (KD) is a potentially fatal acute vasculitis of childhood. Although KD is the leading cause of acquired heart disease in children in developed nations, its pathogenesis remains unknown. We previously reported the novel observation that IgA plasma cells infiltrate the vascular wall in acute KD. We have now examined the clonality of this IgA response in vascular tissue from three fatal cases of KD to determine whether it is oligoclonal, suggesting an Ag-driven process, or polyclonal, suggesting nonspecific B cell activation or a response to a superantigen. We first sequenced VDJ junctions of 44 α genes isolated from a primary, unamplified KD vascular cDNA library. Five sets of clonally related α sequences were identified, comprising 34% (15 of 44) of the isolated α sequences. Furthermore, point mutations consistent with somatic mutation were detected in the related sequences. Next, using formalin-fixed coronary arteries from two additional fatal KD cases, we sequenced VDJ junctions of α genes isolated by RT-PCR, and a restricted pattern of CDR3 usage was observed in both. We conclude that the vascular IgA response in acute KD is oligoclonal. The identification of an oligoclonal IgA response in KD strongly suggests that the immune response to this important childhood illness is Ag-driven.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy