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Immune dysregulation in the tonsillar microenvironment of Periodic Fever, Aphthous stomatitis, Pharyngitis, Adenitis (PFAPA) Syndrome

TitleImmune dysregulation in the tonsillar microenvironment of Periodic Fever, Aphthous stomatitis, Pharyngitis, Adenitis (PFAPA) Syndrome
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsLuu I., Sharma A., Guaderrama M., Peru M., Nation J., Page N., Carvalho D., Magit A., Jiang W., Leuin S., Bliss M., Bothwell M., Brigger M., Kearns D., Newbury R., Pransky S., Gilbert J.A, Broderick L.
Date Published2019/12
Type of ArticleArticle; Early Access
ISBN Number0271-9142
Accession NumberWOS:000500850200001
KeywordsAutoinflammation; Children; expression; Immunology; microbiome; Pediatrics; Periodic fever; profile; psoriasis; pustulosis palmaris; stimulation; strategy; t-cells; Tonsillectomy

Periodic Fever, Aphthous stomatitis, Pharyngitis and Adenitis (PFAPA) syndrome is an inflammatory disorder of childhood classically characterized by recurrent fevers, pharyngitis, stomatitis, cervical adenitis, and leukocytosis. While the mechanism is unclear, previous studies have shown that tonsillectomy can be a therapeutic option with improvement in quality of life in many patients with PFAPA, but the mechanisms behind surgical success remain unknown. In addition, long-term clinical follow-up is lacking. In our tertiary care center cohort, 62 patients with PFAPA syndrome had complete resolution of symptoms after surgery (95.3%). Flow cytometric evaluation demonstrates an inflammatory cell population, distinct from patients with infectious pharyngitis, with increased numbers of CD8+ T cells (5.9% vs. 3.8%, p < 0.01), CD19+ B cells (51% vs. 35%, p < 0.05), and CD19+CD20+CD27+CD38-memory B cells (14% vs. 7.7%, p < 0.01). Cells are primed at baseline with increased percentage of IL-1 beta positive cells compared to control tonsil-derived cells, which require exogenous LPS stimulation. Gene expression analysis demonstrates a fivefold upregulation in IL1RN and TNF expression in whole tonsil compared to control tonsils, with persistent activation of the NF-kappa B signaling pathway, and differential microbial signatures, even in the afebrile period. Our data indicates that PFAPA patient tonsils have localized, persistent inflammation, in the absence of clinical symptoms, which may explain the success of tonsillectomy as an effective surgical treatment option. The differential expression of several genes and microbial signatures suggests the potential for a diagnostic biomarker for PFAPA syndrome.

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