Issue: 2007 > November > original article

Reversible hypogammaglobulinaemia

I.M.E. Desar, C.M.R. Weemaes, M. van Deuren, J.W.M. van der Meer


In this report we present four patients with reversible
hypogammaglobulinaemia who required immunoglobulin
substitution for several years. One patient had documented systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), the other three patients had primary hypogammaglobulinaemia without known cause. Whereas the cessation of azathioprine therapy may have contributed to the recovery in the patient with
SLE, the restoration of the immunoglobulin production in
the other three patients occurred spontaneously. All four patients were IgA deficient when the hypogammaglobulinaemia was first detected and remained so after IgM and IgG production had recovered. Two of the three patients who also had anti-IgA antibodies started to produce anti-IgA again after stopping the immunoglobulin substitution. We conclude that recovery of hypogammaglobulinaemia is possible but rare. When recovery is suspected, we recommend that immunoglobulin substitution is stopped and the antibody response to vaccination is tested.