About gamma globulin deficiency

What is gamma globulin deficiency?

Hypogammaglobulinemia is a problem with the immune system that prevents it from making enough antibodies called immunoglobulins. Antibodies are proteins that help your body recognize and fight off foreign invaders like bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

Without enough antibodies, you’re more likely to get infections. People with hypogammaglobulinemia can more easily catch pneumonia, meningitis, and other infections that a healthy immune system would normally protect against. These infections can damage organs and lead to potentially serious complications.



What are the symptoms for gamma globulin deficiency?

Meningitis symptom was found in the gamma globulin deficiency condition

People with this condition get more frequent infections than usual. Common infections include:

Some of these infections can be serious.

Babies with hypogammaglobulinemia often get respiratory tract infections, food allergies, and eczema. Infants can also develop urinary tract and intestinal infections.

Babies that are born with THI first show symptoms about 6 to 12 months after birth. The main symptom is frequent ear, sinus, and lung infections.

Which symptoms you or your child has will depend on what infections you get, but they can include:

  • coughing
  • sore throat
  • fever
  • ear pain
  • congestion
  • sinus pain
  • diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • abdominal cramps
  • joint pain



What are the causes for gamma globulin deficiency?

Several gene changes (mutations) have been linked to hypogammaglobulinemia.

One such mutation affects the BTK gene. This gene is needed to help B cells grow and mature. B cells are a type of immune cell that makes antibodies. Immature B cells don’t make enough antibodies to protect the body from infection.

THI is more common in premature infants. Babies normally get antibodies from their mother through the placenta during pregnancy. These antibodies protect them from infections once they’re born. Babies that are born too early don’t get enough antibodies from their mother.

A few other conditions can cause hypogammaglobulinemia. Some are passed down through families and start at birth (congenital). These are called primary immune deficiencies.

They include:

  • ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T)
  • autosomal recessive agammaglobulinemia (ARA)
  • common variable immunodeficiency (CVID)
  • hyper-IgM syndromes
  • IgG subclass deficiency
  • isolated non-IgG immunoglobulin deficiencies
  • severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID)
  • specific antibody deficiency (SAD)
  • Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome
  • x-linked agammaglobulinemia

More often, hypogammaglobulinemia develops as a result of another condition, called secondary or acquired immune deficiencies. These include:

Certain medications can also cause hypogammaglobulinemia, including:

  • medicines that suppress the immune system, such as corticosteroids
  • chemotherapy drugs
  • antiseizure medications



What are the treatments for gamma globulin deficiency?

Doctors treat bacterial infections with antibiotics. People who get severe or frequent bacterial infections may need to take antibiotics for several months at a time to prevent them.

If your hypogammaglobulinemia is severe, you may get immune globulin replacement therapy to replace what your body isn’t making. You get this treatment through an IV. The immune globulin comes from the blood plasma of healthy donors.

Some people only need a single injection of immune globulin replacement. Others will need to stay on this treatment for a year or more. Your doctor will do blood tests every few months to check your levels until they get up to normal.



What are the risk factors for gamma globulin deficiency?

Infections are more likely if you don't have enough antibodies.

  • People with hypogammaglobulinemia are more susceptible to infections such as pneumonia, meningitis, and others that a healthy immune system would usually protect them from.
  • These infections can harm organs and cause serious complications.
  • Hypogammaglobulinemia has been linked to a number of gene changes (mutations).
  • Hypogammaglobulinemia can also be caused by a few other conditions.
  • Some are passed down through families, while others begin at birth (congenital). These are referred to as primary immune deficiencies.
  • Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
    • damage to the nervous system, heart and lungs
    • an increased risk of cancer
    • repeated infections
    • slowed growth in children
    Treatment for infections and immune globulin therapy can reduce the risk.



Is there a cure/medications for gamma globulin deficiency?

Bacterial infections are usually treated with antibiotics. People who get severe or frequent bacterial infections may need to take antibiotics for several months at a time to prevent them.

  • If you have an acute condition of hypogammaglobulinemia, you may get immune globulin replacement therapy to replace what your body isn’t making through an IV.
    The immune globulin comes from the blood plasma of healthy donors.
  • In certain cases, some people only need a single injection of immune globulin replacement.
    However, others will need to stay on this treatment for a year or more.
    •Your doctor will do blood tests every few months to check your levels until they get up to normal.



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