Kawasaki disease (KD) is an acute vasculitis of young childhood predominantly affecting the coronary arteries. IgA plasma cells have been found to infiltrate vascular and nonvascular tissues in fatal acute KD. To determine whether IgA B-lymphocytes were increased in the peripheral blood of patients with KD, we performed three-color flow cytometry to detect surface and cytoplasmic immunoglobulin expression (IgA, IgM, IgD, and IgG) of peripheral B-lymphocytes in KD patients during the acute, subacute, and convalescent stages of illness and in age-matched febrile and afebrile pediatric controls. Surprisingly, absolute numbers of B-lymphocytes expressing IgA were found to be significantly lower in peripheral blood of acute KD patients compared with febrile and afebrile pediatric controls. These findings indicate that IgA plasma cells are not present in KD tissue as a result of excess numbers of these IgA B-lymphocytes in peripheral blood. We speculate that IgA B-lymphocytes are selectively withdrawn from the peripheral circulation into KD target tissues as part of a specific IgA immune response.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health