IgA deficiency, the most common primary immunodeficiency, is a very heterogeneous clinical disorder which may be associated with a variety of infections, allergies, autoimmune disorders, gastrointestinal diseases, and genetic disorders. The central phenotypic feature of this immunodeficiency is a B cell differentiation arrest, the extent of which may determine the clinical variability. Integrity of the immunoglobulin genes and their expression by immature B cells in affected individuals suggests an immunoregulatory basis for the B cell arrest. Genetic studies imply that a susceptibility gene in or near the major histocompatibility locus may predispose homozygous individuals to a spectrum of antibody deficiencies which may range from isolated IgA deficiency to panhypogammaglobulinemia. Essential cofactors in the pathogenesis of IgA deficiency include environmental factors, such as certain drugs and viral infections.