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IPEX Syndrome


Jennifer M. Barker

, MD, Children's Hospital Colorado, Division of Pediatric Endocrinology

Last full review/revision Mar 2021| Content last modified Mar 2021
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IPEX syndrome is a rare, hereditary autoimmune disorder that causes dysfunction of multiple endocrine glands and inflammation of the intestine.

Endocrine glands are organs that secrete one or more specific hormones. IPEX syndrome may be related to an autoimmune reaction in which the body's immune defenses mistakenly attack the body’s own cells.

The disorder is named for the most common symptoms that occur in affected people. IPEX stands for

Mainly boys are affected because the disorder is inherited in an X-linked recessive fashion. The defective gene is carried on the X chromosome, which is one of the sex chromosomes. Women have two X chromosomes, so if one X chromosome contains a defective gene, the woman still has another X chromosome with a functioning gene. Men have only one X chromosome, so if they inherit the defective gene from their mother, they develop the disorder.

IPEX syndrome manifests as severe enlargement of lymph nodes, tonsils, adenoids, and spleen, type 1 diabetes mellitus, red irritated patches of skin (eczema), food allergies, and infections. Enteropathy causes persistent diarrhea.

Diagnosis is suggested by the person's symptoms and the findings during the physical examination. Doctors use genetic analysis to confirm the diagnosis. Family members of boys with the defective gene also may be recommended to have genetic testing.

Untreated, IPEX syndrome is usually fatal during the first year of life. Stem cell transplantation can prolong life and decrease some of the symptoms of autoimmune conditions.

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Drug Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus
Many people with diabetes mellitus require drugs to lower blood glucose levels, relieve symptoms, and prevent complications. Insulin is a commonly-needed drug by people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Which of the following is NOT one of the forms in which insulin is currently available?
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