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Transient Hypogammaglobulinemia of Infancy

By

James Fernandez

, MD, PhD, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University

Last full review/revision Apr 2021| Content last modified Apr 2021
Click here for the Professional Version

In transient hypogammaglobulinemia of infancy, production of normal amounts of antibodies (immunoglobulins) in infants is delayed.

At birth, the immune system Overview of the Immune System The immune system is designed to defend the body against foreign or dangerous invaders. Such invaders include Microorganisms (commonly called germs, such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi) Parasites... read more is not fully developed. Most of the immunoglobulins in infants are those produced by the mother and transferred via the placenta before birth. Immunoglobulins from the mother protect infants against infection until infants start to produce their own, usually by age 6 months. About the same time, levels of immunoglobulins from the mother start to decrease.

In infants with transient hypogammaglobulinemia of infancy, production of normal amounts of immunoglobulins is delayed. As a result, immunoglobulin levels become low starting at age 3 to 6 months and return to normal at about age 12 to 36 months.

This condition is more common among premature infants because they receive fewer immunoglobulins from the mother.

Blood tests are done to measure levels of immunoglobulins and to evaluate immunoglobulin production in response to vaccines. Usually, infants with the disorder produce normal amounts of antibodies in response to the vaccines they are given and to infectious organisms they are exposed to. However, if infants, particularly those born prematurely, have frequent infections, they may be given antibiotics to prevent more infections from developing.

This disorder may last for months to a few years but usually resolves without treatment.

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