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Home :: Immune Disorders

Common Variable Immunodeficiency - Causes and Treatment


Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
Allergic Rhinitis
Ankylosing Spondylitis
Blood Transfusion Reaction
Chronic Mucocutaneous Candidiasis
Common Variable Immunodeficiency
Digeorge Syndrome
Fibromyalgia Syndrome
Goodpastures Syndrome
Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
Lupus Erythematosus
Polymyalgia Rheumatica
Polymyositis Dermatomyositis
Reiters Syndrome
Sjogrens Syndrome
Systemic Sclerosis
Urticaria Angioedem

Common variable immunodeficiency is an immunodeficiency disorder characterized by a low level of antibodies. Immunodeficiency means that the immune system is deficient in one or more of its components and is unable to respond effectively. Most patients with CVID present as sporadic cases, although reports exist of familiar cases with various inheritance modes, including autosomal dominant with variable penetrance, autosomal recessive, or X-linked. Common immunologic defect in patients with CVID is defective antibody formation. As would be expected in a heterogeneous group of diseases, many different immune system defects have been reported in this group of patients. Patients with common variable immunodeficiency have a normal number of B cells, the lymphocytes that make antibodies. In approximately one-third of these patients, the number of B cells in the blood that have IgG antibodies on their surface is lower than normal, but there are normal numbers of B cells in their bone marrow. B cells with IgG antibodies on their surface are capable of responding to microorganisms. The lack of IgG on the surface of the B cells means that they are not prepared to fight infection. The T-cell lymphocytes, those cells responsible for cellular immunity, are usually normal, although some cell signal components may be lacking.

Common variable immunodeficiency normally appears in children after the age of 10. Autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, thyroiditis, and systemic lupus erythematosus and certain cancers such as lymphomas and leukemias may be associated with common variable immunodeficiency. Antibody levels are tested in the serum by a procedure called electrophoresis. This procedure both quantifies the amount of antibody present and identifies the various classes of antibodies. The main class of antibody for fighting infectious diseases is IgG. The main symptom is recurring infections that tend to be chronic rather than acute. Patients may also develop diarrhea and, as a consequence of the diarrhea, do not absorb food efficiently. This can lead to malnourishment that can aggravate the disorder. Genetic factors do play a part in the development of common variable immunodeficiency. People with common variable immunodeficiency usually have a normal life span.

Causes of Common Variable Immunodeficiency

Common causes of Common Variable Immunodeficiency

  • Genetic factors.
  • Antiepileptic drugs.

Symptoms of Common Variable Immunodeficiency

Common Symptoms of Common Variable Immunodeficiency

  • Diarrhea.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Bloating.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Weight loss.

Treatment of Common Variable Immunodeficiency

Common Treatment of Common Variable Immunodeficiency

  • Immunoglobulin (Ig) replacement therapy, by intravenous infusion or subcutaneous injection.
  • Treatment for common variable immunodeficiency aims at boosting the body's immune response and preventing or controlling infections. Immune serum, obtained from donated blood, is given as a source of antibodies to boost the immune response.
  • Antibiotics are used routinely at the first sign of an infection to help the patient eliminate infectious microorganisms.
  • Good hygiene and nutrition are important.
  • Avoiding crowds or other people who have active infections.