Immunoglobulin G deficiency
- IgG2 deficiency: IgG2 subclass deficiency, which occurs either as an isolated entity or in combination with IgG4 deficiency, is the most common subclass deficiency. Some patients with IgG2 deficiency may be asymptomatic, which may be because the antibody response was shifted to another Immunoglobulin G deficiency subclass. Children with IgG2 and IgG4 deficiency who also have systemic lupus erythematosus (chronic inflammatory connective tissue disease) may present experience cardiac tamponade (compression of the heart) rather than more common signs of systemic lupus erythematosus (like nephropathy and arthritis). This particular deficiency usually causes the highest frequency of infectious complications, especially in the respiratory tract (like bronchiectasis, bronchopneumonia, bronchitis, obstructive lung disease and asthma). This because the IgG2 antibodies play a vital role in the immune response to organisms with polysaccharide capsules (like H. influenzae type B). In addition, IgG2 deficient patients may be unable to produce specific antibodies after receiving certain vaccines, including the pneumococcal or the Haemophilus influenzae vaccines.
- IgG3 deficiency: IgG3 deficiency, which may occur with IgG1 deficiency, has been associated with recurrent upper and lower respiratory tract infections. IgG3 may play an important role in the primary immune response to viral respiratory agents. Also, IgG3 is the predominant antibody response to the Moraxella catarrhalis bacteria, which is commonly found in patients who have chronic sinusitis.
- IgG4 deficiency: IgG4 deficiency occurs in 10-15% of the general population. Researchers have described selective IgG4 deficiency in patients who have severe recurrent respiratory tract infections and bronchiectasis. When IgG deficiency occurs with low levels of both IgG4 and IgA, it is usually associated with ataxia-telangiectasia.
- Radial immunodiffusion: A radial immunodiffusion test measures the amount of serum proteins in the blood.
- Arginine: Preliminary study results suggest that arginine supplementation may enhance the immune response elicited by the pneumococcal vaccine in older people. More studies are needed to confirm these results.
- Astragalus: Astragalus has been suggested as an immune system stimulant in preliminary laboratory and animal research, and in traditional accounts. Reliable human studies are lacking. High-quality human research is necessary before a firm conclusion can be drawn.
- Beta-carotene: Preliminary research of beta-carotene for immune system maintenance or stimulation shows mixed results. Further research is needed before a conclusion can be drawn.
- Cat's claw: A few early studies suggest that cat's claw may boost the immune system. However, results from different studies are conflicting. Therefore, there is not enough information to recommend cat's claw for this use.
- Copper: Copper is involved in the development of immune cells and immune function in the body. Severe copper deficiency appears to have adverse effects on immune function, although the exact mechanism is not clear.
- Echinacea: Echinacea has been studied alone and in combination preparations for immune system stimulation. It remains unclear if there are clinically significant benefits. Additional studies are needed in this area before conclusions can be drawn regarding safety or effectiveness.
- Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA): Few clinical trials have investigated the effect of GLA on immune responses in healthy human subjects. Results from one randomized, clinical trial suggest that GLA, as blackcurrant seed oil may offer some benefits. Further, well-designed clinical trials are required before definite conclusions can be made.
- Ginseng: A small number of studies report that ginseng may stimulate activity of immune cells in the body, improve the effectiveness of antibiotics in people with acute bronchitis and enhance the body's response to influenza vaccines. Additional studies are necessary before a clear conclusion can be reached.
- Goldenseal: Goldenseal has been suggested to be an immune system stimulant. However, there is little human or laboratory evidence in this area. More research is needed before a firm conclusion can be drawn.
- Maitake mushroom: Animal and laboratory studies suggest that beta-glucan extracts from maitake may alter the immune system. However, no reliable studies in humans are available.
- Mistletoe: A few small trials found mistletoe to be promising as an immunostimulant in individuals with the common cold. Further studies are needed to confirm these results.
- Probiotics: Lactobacillus in fermented milk, low-fat milk or lactose-hydrolyzed low-fat milk may enhance immune function. Bifidobacterium may also enhance immune function. However, commercially produced yogurt may not yield similar benefits. There is some evidence that probiotics added during food preparation (e.g., waffles with Enterococcus faecium M-74 added) can enhance immune functioning. More studies are needed, particularly with yogurt, to give concrete recommendations.
- Vitamin A (retinal): Vitamin A deficiency may compromise immunity, but there is no clear evidence that additional vitamin A supplementation is beneficial for immune function in patients who are not vitamin A deficient.
- Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine): Vitamin B6 is important for immune system function in older individuals. One study found that the amount of vitamin B6 required to reverse immune system impairments in elderly people was more than the current recommended dietary allowance (RDA). Well-designed clinical trials on vitamin B6 supplementation for this indication are needed before a recommendation can be made.
- Vitamin E: Studies of the effects of vitamin E supplementation on immune system function have yielded mixed results. Further research is needed before a clear conclusion can be drawn.
- DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone): Some textbooks and review articles have suggested that DHEA can stimulate the immune system. However, current scientific evidence does not support this claim.
- Lycopene: It has been proposed that lycopene and other carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, may stimulate the immune system. However, several studies of lycopene supplements and tomato juice intake in humans report no effects on the immune system.
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