Chronic granulomatous disease in males is familial and its transmission is is usually clearly x-linked. The mode of inheritance in females with the syndrome is unknown and the carrier state difficult to identify. Defective polymorphonuclear leukocyte bactericidal activity in this disease is associated with an absence of the respiratory burst generated in stimulated phagocytes and may be detected by the chemiluminescence assay. Polymorphonuclear leukocytes from three of four females with chronic granulomatous disease had extremely low chemiluminescence production, their asymptomatic mothers had intermediate values, and their fathers were normal. Polymorphonuclear neutrophils of two affected males in these kinships generated no chemiluminescence, whereas two of seven female relatives had intermediate values, and all nonaffected males had normal values. In the three families in which leukocytes were studied by nitroblue tetrazolium reduction, two populations of neutrophils were demonstrated for the female patients and/or their mothers. The wide phenotypic variability for clinical disease, evidence of two leukocyte populations in the patients or their mothers, and low but detectable leukocyte chemiluminescence in the affected females is consistent with the Lyon hypothesis of x-chromosome inactivation in these families. The findings suggest an x-linked inheritance in these females with chronic granulomatous disease.
Elaine L. Mills, Kenneth S. Rholl, Paul G. Quie