NAPDH Oxidase-Specific Flow Cytometry Allows for Rapid Genetic Triage and Classification of Novel Variants in Chronic Granulomatous Disease

Keith A. Sacco, Matthew J. Smith, Sami L. Bahna, David Buchbinder, Joshua Burkhardt, Megan A. Cooper, Nicholas L. Hartog, Lisa Kobrynski, Kiran P. Patel, Roshini S. Abraham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose: Chronic granulomatous disease (CGD) is an innate immune deficiency, primarily affecting the phagocytic compartment, and presenting with a diverse phenotypic spectrum ranging from severe childhood infections to monogenic inflammatory bowel disease. Dihydrorhodamine (DHR) flow cytometry is the standard diagnostic test for CGD, and correlates with NADPH oxidase activity. While there may be genotype correlation with the DHR flow pattern in some patients, in several others, there is no correlation. In such patients, assessment by flow cytometric evaluation of NADPH oxidase-specific (NOX) proteins provides a convenient and rapid means of genetic triage, though immunoblotting has long been used for this purpose. Methods and Results: We describe the clinical utility of the NOX flow cytometry assay through assessment of X-linked and autosomal recessive CGD patients and their first-degree relatives. The assessment of specific NOX proteins was correlated with overall NADPH oxidase function (DHR flow), clinical phenotype and genotype. NOX-specific protein assessment is a valuable adjunct to DHR assessment and genotyping to classify and characterize CGD patients. Conclusions: The atypical clinical presentation of some CGD patients can make genotype–phenotype correlation with DHR flow data challenging. Genetic testing, while useful for confirmation of diagnosis, can take several weeks, and in some patients does not provide a conclusive answer. However, NADPH-oxidase-specific protein flow assessment offers a rapid alternative to identification of the underlying genetic defect in cellular subsets, and can be utilized as a reflex test to an abnormal DHR flow. Further, it can provide insight into correlation between oxidative burst relative to protein expression in granulocytes and monocytes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-202
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Clinical Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • CYBA
  • CYBB
  • Chronic granulomatous disease
  • NADPH oxidase
  • NCF1
  • flow cytometry
  • gp91phox
  • p22phox
  • p47phox
  • primary immunodeficiencies


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