Lung disease in ataxia-telangiectasia

Acta Paediatr. 2007 Jul;96(7):1021-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2007.00338.x. Epub 2007 May 24.


Ataxia-telangiectasia (AT) is a multi-systemic disease caused by mutational inactivation of the ATM gene. We report a retrospective study of lung disease in 15 patients.

Patients and methods: A diagnosis of AT was made if the patient met the following criteria: neurological features and at least one the following: oculo-cutaneous telangiectasia, elevated serum alpha-feto-protein level.

Results: Recurrent sino-pulmonary infections were usually present in 11 of the cases and occurred during the first 2 years of life. Other lung injuries noted were bronchiectasis, obstruction and restriction of the airways, fibrosis, pneumothorax and haemoptysis. Eleven children had immunodeficiencies.

Discussion: Recurrent sino-pulmonary manifestations precede neurological complications, but the severity of neuro-degeneration and pulmonary disease were not correlated. Pulmonary status was a prognosis factor. Immunodeficiency was the main, but not the only, aetiology for lung disease in AT.

Conclusion: There is little dispute over the role of ATM in lung and respiratory epithelium. To reduce the morbidity associated with AT, there needs to be greater awareness of respiratory complications. Early management and monitoring lung function is necessary to minimize lung damage.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Airway Obstruction
  • Ataxia Telangiectasia* / complications
  • Ataxia Telangiectasia* / immunology
  • Bronchiectasis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases* / etiology
  • Lung Diseases* / immunology
  • Male
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / etiology
  • Retrospective Studies