Flow Cytometry Contributions for the Diagnosis and Immunopathological Characterization of Primary Immunodeficiency Diseases With Immune Dysregulation

Otavio Cabral-Marques, Lena F. Schimke, Edgar Borges de Oliveira, Nadia El Khawanky, Rodrigo Nalio Ramos, Basel K. Al-Ramadi, Gesmar Rodrigues Silva Segundo, Hans D. Ochs, Antonio Condino-Neto

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Almost 70 years after establishing the concept of primary immunodeficiency disorders (PIDs), more than 320 monogenic inborn errors of immunity have been identified thanks to the remarkable contribution of high-throughput genetic screening in the last decade. Approximately 40 of these PIDs present with autoimmune or auto-inflammatory symptoms as the primary clinical manifestation instead of infections. These PIDs are now recognized as diseases of immune dysregulation. Loss-of function mutations in genes such as FOXP3, CD25, LRBA, IL-10, IL10RA, and IL10RB, as well as heterozygous gain-of-function mutations in JAK1 and STAT3 have been reported as causative of these disorders. Identifying these syndromes has considerably contributed to expanding our knowledge on the mechanisms of immune regulation and tolerance. Although whole exome and whole genome sequencing have been extremely useful in identifying novel causative genes underlying new phenotypes, these approaches are time-consuming and expensive. Patients with monogenic syndromes associated with autoimmunity require faster diagnostic tools to delineate therapeutic strategies and avoid organ damage. Since these PIDs present with severe life-threatening phenotypes, the need for a precise diagnosis in order to initiate appropriate patient management is necessary. More traditional approaches such as flow cytometry are therefore a valid option. Here, we review the application of flow cytometry and discuss the relevance of this powerful technique in diagnosing patients with PIDs presenting with immune dysregulation. In addition, flow cytometry represents a fast, robust, and sensitive approach that efficiently uncovers new immunopathological mechanisms underlying monogenic PIDs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2742
JournalFrontiers in immunology
Publication statusPublished - Nov 26 2019


  • diagnosis
  • flow cytometry
  • immune dysregulation
  • mutation
  • primary immunodeficiency diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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