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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2002 May;109(5):747-57.

Primary cellular immunodeficiencies.

Author information

  • Division of Allergy and Immunology, Department of Pediatrics, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


Genetic defects in T-cell function lead to susceptibility to infections or to other clinical problems that are more grave than those seen in disorders resulting in antibody deficiency alone. Those affected usually present during infancy with either common or opportunistic infections and rarely survive beyond infancy or childhood. The spectrum of T-cell defects ranges from the syndrome of severe combined immunodeficiency, in which T-cell function is absent, to combined immunodeficiency disorders in which there is some, but not adequate, T-cell function for a normal life span. Recent discoveries of the molecular causes of many of these defects have led to a new understanding of the flawed biology underlying the ever-growing number of defects. Most of these conditions could be diagnosed by means of screening for lymphopenia or for T-cell deficiency in cord blood at birth. Early recognition of those so afflicted is essential to the application of the most appropriate treatments for these conditions at a very early age. The latter treatments include both transplantation and gene therapy in addition to immunoglobulin replacement. Fully defining the molecular defects of such patients is also essential for genetic counseling of family members and prenatal diagnosis.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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