IPEX Syndrome

IPEX (immune dysregulation, polyendocrinopathy, enteropathy, X-linked) syndrome is a rare congenital T-cell deficiency associated with transcription Transcription Transcription of genetic information is the first step in gene expression. Transcription is the process by which DNA is used as a template to make mRNA. This process is divided into 3 stages: initiation, elongation, and termination. Stages of Transcription factor FOXP3 dysfunction. This factor regulates the development of a regulatory T cell line and dysfunctions usually result in autoimmunity Autoimmunity Autoimmunity is a pathologic immune response toward self-antigens, resulting from a combination of factors: immunologic, genetic, and environmental. The immune system is equipped with self-tolerance, allowing immune cells such as T cells and B cells to recognize self-antigens and to not mount a reaction against them. Defects in this mechanism, along with environmental triggers (such as infections) and genetic susceptibility factors (most notable of which are the HLA genes) can lead to autoimmune diseases. Autoimmunity. The condition manifests as autoimmune enteropathy, eczematous dermatitis, nail dystrophy, autoimmune endocrinopathies, and autoimmune skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Structure and Function of the Skin conditions. The only form of management for IPEX is bone marrow Bone marrow Bone marrow, the primary site of hematopoiesis, is found in the cavities of cancellous bones and the medullary canals of long bones. There are 2 types: red marrow (hematopoietic with abundant blood cells) and yellow marrow (predominantly filled with adipocytes). Composition of Bone Marrow transplantation.

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Epidemiology and Etiology

Epidemiology

  • Occurs in 1 in 1.6 million people
  • Fewer than 300 cases of IPEX (immune dysregulation, polyendocrinopathy, enteropathy, X-linked) syndrome have ever been reported

Etiology

  • Has an X-linked recessive inheritance pattern, so primarily affects males
  • Caused by a mutation Mutation Genetic mutations are errors in DNA that can cause protein misfolding and dysfunction. There are various types of mutations, including chromosomal, point, frameshift, and expansion mutations. Types of Mutations in the gene that encodes the forkhead box protein 3 transcription Transcription Transcription of genetic information is the first step in gene expression. Transcription is the process by which DNA is used as a template to make mRNA. This process is divided into 3 stages: initiation, elongation, and termination. Stages of Transcription factor (FOXP3), located at Xp11.23-Xq13.3
X-linked recessive inheritance

The pattern of inheritance of X-linked agammaglobulinemia X-linked agammaglobulinemia X-linked agammaglobulinemia, also known as Bruton's agammaglobulinemia or Bruton's disease, is a rare, recessive genetic disorder characterized by the improper development of B cells, leading to a lack of mature B cells capable of responding to stimulation by cell-mediated immune responses or certain antigen-presenting cells. X-linked Agammaglobulinemia. Note that the mother must contribute the defective X gene to the male child in order for him to express this phenotype.

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Pathophysiology

  • The mutation Mutation Genetic mutations are errors in DNA that can cause protein misfolding and dysfunction. There are various types of mutations, including chromosomal, point, frameshift, and expansion mutations. Types of Mutations causes a dysfunctional activation of regulatory T cells T cells T cells, also called T lymphocytes, are important components of the adaptive immune system. Production starts from the hematopoietic stem cells in the bone marrow, from which T-cell progenitor cells arise. These cells migrate to the thymus for further maturation. T Cells toward host tissues ( autoimmunity Autoimmunity Autoimmunity is a pathologic immune response toward self-antigens, resulting from a combination of factors: immunologic, genetic, and environmental. The immune system is equipped with self-tolerance, allowing immune cells such as T cells and B cells to recognize self-antigens and to not mount a reaction against them. Defects in this mechanism, along with environmental triggers (such as infections) and genetic susceptibility factors (most notable of which are the HLA genes) can lead to autoimmune diseases. Autoimmunity).
  • Disruptions of the FOXP3 regulatory pathway can lead to organ-specific autoimmune diseases involving the skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Structure and Function of the Skin, gastrointestinal (GI) tract, and endocrine glands.
  • Also associated with the loss of CD4+ CD25+ T regulatory cells, which are linked to autoimmunity Autoimmunity Autoimmunity is a pathologic immune response toward self-antigens, resulting from a combination of factors: immunologic, genetic, and environmental. The immune system is equipped with self-tolerance, allowing immune cells such as T cells and B cells to recognize self-antigens and to not mount a reaction against them. Defects in this mechanism, along with environmental triggers (such as infections) and genetic susceptibility factors (most notable of which are the HLA genes) can lead to autoimmune diseases. Autoimmunity

Clinical Presentation

Signs of systemic autoimmunity Autoimmunity Autoimmunity is a pathologic immune response toward self-antigens, resulting from a combination of factors: immunologic, genetic, and environmental. The immune system is equipped with self-tolerance, allowing immune cells such as T cells and B cells to recognize self-antigens and to not mount a reaction against them. Defects in this mechanism, along with environmental triggers (such as infections) and genetic susceptibility factors (most notable of which are the HLA genes) can lead to autoimmune diseases. Autoimmunity begin presenting in the 1st year of life.

  • Classic triad presentation: 
    1. Enteropathy: 
      • Chronic diarrhea Diarrhea Diarrhea is defined as ≥ 3 watery or loose stools in a 24-hour period. There are a multitude of etiologies, which can be classified based on the underlying mechanism of disease. The duration of symptoms (acute or chronic) and characteristics of the stools (e.g., watery, bloody, steatorrheic, mucoid) can help guide further diagnostic evaluation. Diarrhea (most common first symptom)
      • Underlying food allergies or infection
    2. Endocrinopathy: 
      • Hyper- or hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism is a condition characterized by a deficiency of thyroid hormones. Iodine deficiency is the most common cause worldwide, but Hashimoto's disease (autoimmune thyroiditis) is the leading cause in non-iodine-deficient regions. Hypothyroidism
      • Thyroiditis
      • Type 1 diabetes mellitus Diabetes mellitus Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a metabolic disease characterized by hyperglycemia and dysfunction of the regulation of glucose metabolism by insulin. Type 1 DM is diagnosed mostly in children and young adults as the result of autoimmune destruction of β cells in the pancreas and the resulting lack of insulin. Type 2 DM has a significant association with obesity and is characterized by insulin resistance. Diabetes Mellitus
      • Atypical growth hormone deficiency
      • Hypoadrenalism 
    3. Dermatitis: 
      • Eczema Eczema Atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema, is a chronic, relapsing, pruritic, inflammatory skin disease that occurs more frequently in children, although adults can also be affected. The condition is often associated with elevated serum levels of IgE and a personal or family history of atopy. Skin dryness, erythema, oozing, crusting, and lichenification are present. Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema) or eczematous dermatitis
      • Nail dystrophy
  • Other symptoms include:
    • Lymphadenopathy Lymphadenopathy Lymphadenopathy is lymph node enlargement (> 1 cm) and is benign and self-limited in most patients. Etiologies include malignancy, infection, and autoimmune disorders, as well as iatrogenic causes such as the use of certain medications. Generalized lymphadenopathy often indicates underlying systemic disease. Lymphadenopathy
    • Cytopenias
    • Increased susceptibility to infections
    • Renal disease
    • Acute respiratory distress syndrome Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome Acute respiratory distress syndrome is characterized by the sudden onset of hypoxemia and bilateral pulmonary edema without cardiac failure. Sepsis is the most common cause of ARDS. The underlying mechanism and histologic correlate is diffuse alveolar damage (DAD). Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome
    • Weight loss
    • Alopecia Alopecia Alopecia is the loss of hair in areas anywhere on the body where hair normally grows. Alopecia may be defined as scarring or non-scarring, localized or diffuse, congenital or acquired, reversible or permanent, or confined to the scalp or universal; however, alopecia is usually classified using the 1st 3 factors. Alopecia
    • Splenomegaly Splenomegaly Splenomegaly is pathologic enlargement of the spleen that is attributable to numerous causes, including infections, hemoglobinopathies, infiltrative processes, and outflow obstruction of the portal vein. Splenomegaly
    • Arthritis
    • Failure to thrive Failure to Thrive Failure to thrive (FTT), or faltering growth, describes suboptimal weight gain and growth in children. The majority of cases are due to inadequate caloric intake; however, genetic, infectious, and oncological etiologies are also common. Failure to Thrive

Diagnosis and Management

Diagnosis

Diagnostic testing for IPEX syndrome follows systematic criteria consistent with:

  • Clinical examination: a classic triad of autoimmunity Autoimmunity Autoimmunity is a pathologic immune response toward self-antigens, resulting from a combination of factors: immunologic, genetic, and environmental. The immune system is equipped with self-tolerance, allowing immune cells such as T cells and B cells to recognize self-antigens and to not mount a reaction against them. Defects in this mechanism, along with environmental triggers (such as infections) and genetic susceptibility factors (most notable of which are the HLA genes) can lead to autoimmune diseases. Autoimmunity in a male infant or child (dermatitis, enteropathy, and thyroid disorder or insulin Insulin Insulin is a peptide hormone that is produced by the beta cells of the pancreas. Insulin plays a role in metabolic functions such as glucose uptake, glycolysis, glycogenesis, lipogenesis, and protein synthesis. Exogenous insulin may be needed for individuals with diabetes mellitus, in whom there is a deficiency in endogenous insulin or increased insulin resistance. Insulin-dependent diabetes)
  • Family history: most mutations are familial; sporadic cases are rare
  • Genetic testing: hemizygous pathogenic variant in FOXP3
  • Laboratory findings: severely reduced/absent CD4+ CD25+ regulatory T cells T cells T cells, also called T lymphocytes, are important components of the adaptive immune system. Production starts from the hematopoietic stem cells in the bone marrow, from which T-cell progenitor cells arise. These cells migrate to the thymus for further maturation. T Cells

Management

Numerous medications are used and administration depends on each patient’s manifestations:

  • Corticosteroids: first-line treatment
  • Cyclosporin A, sirolimus, or FK506: T cell–directed immune suppression
  • Bone Bone Bone is a compact type of hardened connective tissue composed of bone cells, membranes, an extracellular mineralized matrix, and central bone marrow. The 2 primary types of bone are compact and spongy. Structure of Bones marrow transplant: only potential cure for IPEX syndrome
  • Total parenteral nutrition (TPN): provides nutrition in cases of severe enteropathies
  • Standard treatment for diabetes mellitus Diabetes mellitus Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a metabolic disease characterized by hyperglycemia and dysfunction of the regulation of glucose metabolism by insulin. Type 1 DM is diagnosed mostly in children and young adults as the result of autoimmune destruction of β cells in the pancreas and the resulting lack of insulin. Type 2 DM has a significant association with obesity and is characterized by insulin resistance. Diabetes Mellitus and autoimmune thyroid disease (e.g., insulin Insulin Insulin is a peptide hormone that is produced by the beta cells of the pancreas. Insulin plays a role in metabolic functions such as glucose uptake, glycolysis, glycogenesis, lipogenesis, and protein synthesis. Exogenous insulin may be needed for individuals with diabetes mellitus, in whom there is a deficiency in endogenous insulin or increased insulin resistance. Insulin and thyroid hormone supplementation)
  • Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor and prophylactic antibiotic therapy to address the associated autoimmune neutropenia Neutropenia Neutrophils are an important component of the immune system and play a significant role in the eradication of infections. Low numbers of circulating neutrophils, referred to as neutropenia, predispose the body to recurrent infections or sepsis, though patients can also be asymptomatic. Neutropenia
  • Topical steroids and anti-inflammatory agents: to treat eczema

Differential Diagnosis

The following conditions are differential diagnoses for IPEX syndrome:

  • Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome (WAS), also known as eczema-thrombocytopenia-immunodeficiency syndrome, IMD2, or immunodeficiency 2, is a rare genetic mixed disorder of B- and T-cell deficiency that follows an X-linked recessive inheritance pattern. It is caused by a WAS gene mutation that leads to impaired actin cytoskeleton, phagocytosis and chemotaxis, impaired platelet development, and, in general, a loss of humoral and cellular responses. Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome: an X-linked mixed disorder of B- and T-cell deficiency. The syndrome is caused by a WAS gene mutation Mutation Genetic mutations are errors in DNA that can cause protein misfolding and dysfunction. There are various types of mutations, including chromosomal, point, frameshift, and expansion mutations. Types of Mutations that leads to impaired actin cytoskeleton Cytoskeleton A cell's cytosol is the liquid inside the cell membrane that surrounds the organelles and cytoskeleton. The cytosol is a complex solution where many biochemical processes take place. The Cell: Cytosol and Cytoskeleton, phagocytosis and chemotaxis, impaired platelet development, and, in general, a loss of humoral and cellular responses. Presents as eczema, bleeding disorders, recurrent opportunistic infections, and autoimmunity Autoimmunity Autoimmunity is a pathologic immune response toward self-antigens, resulting from a combination of factors: immunologic, genetic, and environmental. The immune system is equipped with self-tolerance, allowing immune cells such as T cells and B cells to recognize self-antigens and to not mount a reaction against them. Defects in this mechanism, along with environmental triggers (such as infections) and genetic susceptibility factors (most notable of which are the HLA genes) can lead to autoimmune diseases. Autoimmunity.
  • Omenn syndrome: an autosomal recessive Autosomal recessive Autosomal inheritance, both dominant and recessive, refers to the transmission of genes from the 22 autosomal chromosomes. Autosomal recessive diseases are only expressed when 2 copies of the recessive allele are inherited. Autosomal Recessive and Autosomal Dominant Inheritanceform of severe combined immunodeficiency Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), also called "bubble boy disease," is a rare genetic disorder in which the development of functional B and T cells is disturbed due to several genetic mutations that result in reduced or absent immune function. Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) caused by mutations in the RAG1 or RAG2 genes. Presents with chronic diarrhea Diarrhea Diarrhea is defined as ≥ 3 watery or loose stools in a 24-hour period. There are a multitude of etiologies, which can be classified based on the underlying mechanism of disease. The duration of symptoms (acute or chronic) and characteristics of the stools (e.g., watery, bloody, steatorrheic, mucoid) can help guide further diagnostic evaluation. Diarrhea; erythroderma; desquamation; alopecia; failure to thrive; lymphadenopathy; hepatosplenomegaly; recurrent fungal, bacterial, and viral infections; and elevated levels of eosinophils and serum IgE.  
  • Transient neonatal diabetes: a form of diabetes that presents within the first few weeks of life but is transient. Usually caused by dysfunctional genes in chromosome 6. Affected infants go into remission within a few months, although the possibility of relapse into permanent diabetes in adolescence or adulthood remains. Presents as hyperglycemia, dehydration, and failure to thrive in infancy.
  • Severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID): the most severe form of primary immunodeficiency, SCID is a genetic disorder that involves defective antibody response due to either direct involvement with B lymphocytes B lymphocytes B lymphocytes, also known as B cells, are important components of the adaptive immune system. In the bone marrow, the hematopoietic stem cells go through a series of steps to become mature naive B cells. The cells migrate to secondary lymphoid organs for activation and further maturation. B Cells or through improper B-lymphocyte activation due to non-functional T-helper cells. Presents as severe and recurrent opportunistic infections and is diagnosed through quantitative PCR and flow cytometry.
  • X-linked thrombocytopenia Thrombocytopenia Thrombocytopenia occurs when the platelet count is < 150,000 per microliter. The normal range for platelets is usually 150,000-450,000/µL of whole blood. Thrombocytopenia can be a result of decreased production, increased destruction, or splenic sequestration of platelets. Patients are often asymptomatic until platelet counts are < 50,000/µL. Thrombocytopenia: a bleeding disorder that affects males due to its X-linked recessive inheritance pattern. Characterized by low levels of platelets Platelets Platelets are small cell fragments involved in hemostasis. Thrombopoiesis takes place primarily in the bone marrow through a series of cell differentiation and is influenced by several cytokines. Platelets are formed after fragmentation of the megakaryocyte cytoplasm. Platelets and presents with bleeding that occurs spontaneously or after minor trauma.
  • Pancreatic hypoplasia or agenesis: the congenital underdevelopment or complete lack of embryonic development of the pancreas Pancreas The pancreas lies mostly posterior to the stomach and extends across the posterior abdominal wall from the duodenum on the right to the spleen on the left. This organ has both exocrine and endocrine tissue. Pancreas. The pancreas Pancreas The pancreas lies mostly posterior to the stomach and extends across the posterior abdominal wall from the duodenum on the right to the spleen on the left. This organ has both exocrine and endocrine tissue. Pancreas is of endodermal origin, normally developing from the foregut. May present asymptomatically or with hyperglycemia, abdominal pain Pain Pain has accompanied humans since they first existed, first lamented as the curse of existence and later understood as an adaptive mechanism that ensures survival. Pain is the most common symptomatic complaint and the main reason why people seek medical care. Physiology of Pain, diabetes mellitus Diabetes mellitus Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a metabolic disease characterized by hyperglycemia and dysfunction of the regulation of glucose metabolism by insulin. Type 1 DM is diagnosed mostly in children and young adults as the result of autoimmune destruction of β cells in the pancreas and the resulting lack of insulin. Type 2 DM has a significant association with obesity and is characterized by insulin resistance. Diabetes Mellitus, bile duct obstruction, or signs of pancreatitis.

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