(See also Overview of Immunodeficiency Disorders Overview of Immunodeficiency Disorders Immunodeficiency disorders involve malfunction of the immune system, resulting in infections that develop and recur more frequently, are more severe, and last longer than usual. Immunodeficiency... read more .)
Antibodies Antibodies One of the body's lines of defense ( immune system) involves white blood cells (leukocytes) that travel through the bloodstream and into tissues, searching for and attacking microorganisms and... read more (immunoglobulins) are substances produced by the immune system to help defend the body against infection, cancer, and foreign substances. Deficiency of one or more types of immunoglobulin increases the risk of serious infection. 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.
Transient hypogammaglobulinemia of infancy rarely leads to serious infections and is not thought to be a true immunodeficiency. However, a few infants develop frequent sinus, lung, or digestive tract infections, candidiasis Candidiasis Candidiasis is a fungal infection caused by several species of the yeast Candida, especially Candida albicans. The most common type of candidiasis is a superficial infection of... read more (a fungal infection), and/or meningitis Introduction to Meningitis Meningitis is inflammation of the layers of tissue that cover the brain and spinal cord (meninges) and of the fluid-filled space between the meninges (subarachnoid space). Meningitis can be... read more .
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.
The following English-language resource may be useful. Please note that THE MANUAL is not responsible for the content of this resource.
Immune Deficiency Foundation: Transient hypogammaglobulinemia of infancy: Comprehensive information on transient hypogammaglobulinemia of infancy, including information on diagnosis and advice for caregivers