BACKGROUND: Autoimmune neutropenia of early childhood (AIN) is caused by autoantibodies directed against antigens on the neutrophil membrane. The ABO, secretor, and Lewis histo-blood group systems control the expression of carbohydrate antigens and have previously been linked to autoimmune diseases. We aimed to investigate the association between genotypes and the risk of AIN in Danish patients.
STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: One hundred fifty-four antibody-positive AIN patients were included. Controls (n = 400) were healthy unrelated Danish blood donors. Molecular determination of ABO, secretor (FUT2), and Lewis (FUT3) genotypes were determined using real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) or Sanger sequencing to infer the prevalence of Lewis antigens (Lea and Leb ) and secretor (SeSe or Sese) or nonsecretor (sese) phenotypes.
RESULTS: Blood type O was more common in controls (46.8%) than in AIN patients (36.4%) (OR = 0.65; p = 0.028). Secretors of H Leb antigens were less frequent among AIN patients (25.2%) than controls (35.0%) (OR = 0.62; p = 0.037).
DISCUSSION: ABO blood group antigens and the secretion of these antigens are associated with a diagnosis of AIN. The mechanism underlying the association between autoimmunity and interaction among ABO, secretor, and Lewis genotypes has not yet been elucidated, but several studies indicate a connection to the gut microbiota.