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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010 Feb;125(2 Suppl 2):S195-203. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2009.08.040. Epub 2009 Dec 29.

Secondary immunodeficiencies, including HIV infection.

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Department of Pediatrics, Allergy and Immunology Section, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Extrinsic factors can adversely affect immune responses, producing states of secondary immunodeficiency and consequent increased risk of infections. These immunodeficiencies, which can be encountered in routine clinical practice, arise from a number of conditions, such as treatment with glucocorticoids and immunomodulatory drugs, surgery and trauma, extreme environmental conditions, and chronic infections, such as those caused by HIV. The most common cause of immunodeficiency is malnutrition, affecting many communities around the world with restricted access to food resources. Protein-calorie deficiency and micronutrient deficiencies have been shown to alter immune responses; of note, recent progress has been made in the influence of vitamin D deficiency in causing failure of immune activation. Other categories of disease that might present with secondary immunodeficiency include metabolic diseases and genetic multisystemic syndromes. The immune defects observed in secondary immunodeficiency are usually heterogeneous in their clinical presentation, and their prognosis depends on the severity of the immune defect. Management of the primary condition often results in improvement of the immunodeficiency; however, this is sometimes not possible, and the risk of infections can be reduced with prompt antimicrobial treatment and prophylaxis.

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