Neurological involvement in patients with primary immunodeficiency

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Hulya Kose
Zuhal Karali
Muhittin Bodur
Sukru Cekic
Sara Sebnem Kilic


Cvid, Dgs, Neurologic Abnormalities, Nervous System, Primary Immune Deficiency


Introduction: Primary immunodeficiency diseases (PID) are defined by recurrent infections, allergies, autoimmunity, and malignancies. Neurologic symptoms are one of the major components of some immunodeficiency syndromes, such as Ataxia-Telangiectasia (AT), Nijmegen breakage syndrome (NBS), and Purine Nucleoside Phosphorylase (PNP) deficiency, which are considered as the primary involvement. Various pathological mechanisms, DNA repair disorders, metabolic abnormalities, and autoimmune phenomena have also been linked with neurological conditions.

Materials and method: We retrospectively assessed the neurological involvement in 108 patients out of 6000 with PID in this study.

Results: The female/male ratio of the cases was 49/59, and the median age was 13 years (min = 1; max = 60). Neurological problems were detected at a median age of 7 years (min = 0.5; max = 30). Di George Syndrome (DGS) and CVID (common variable immunodeficiency) were the most common diseases in our cohort (n = 31, 30% and n = 30, 27%, respectively). The most frequent outcomes were cognitive delay (n = 63, 58%), epilepsy (n = 25, 23%), and ataxia (n = 20, 18%). Central nervous system involvement was found in 99% of the patients (n = 107), and peripheral nervous system complication was found in only one patient with CVID and chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CDIP). Cranial MRI was found to be abnormal in 74% (n = 80) of the patients. MRI findings included cerebellar atrophy (n = 33, 34%), white matter lesion (n = 27, 28.4%), cerebral atrophy (n = 21, 22.3%), gray matter lesion (n = 6, 6.3%), hydrocephalus (n = 5, 5,3%), and pituitary gland lesion (n = 3, 3.2%), intracranial hemorrhage (n = 3, 3%), intracranial vasculitis (n = 3, 2.7%), and arterio-venous malformation (n = 1, 0,9%). Primary involvement (a component of the disease) was 60% (n = 65), and secondary (infection or autoimmunity) and tertiary involvements (structural or incidental lesions) contributed 20% (n = 20) each in the patients.

Conclusion: In this study, we describe the various neurologic findings of patients with PID. The neurologic presentation may represent the initial manifestation of certain types of PID. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential to prevent or reduce further neurologic damages.

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