Introduction: Immunoglobulin A (IgA) deficiency is the most common primary immunodeficiency defined as decreased serum level of IgA in the presence of normal levels of other immunoglobulin isotypes. Most individuals with IgA deficiency are asymptomatic and identified coincidentally. However, some patients may present with recurrent infections of the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts, allergic disorders, and autoimmune manifestations. IGA AND ITS FUNCTIONS: Although IgA is the most abundant antibody isotype produced in the body, its functions are not clearly understood. Subclass IgA1 in monomeric form is mainly found in the blood circulation, whereas subclass IgA2 in dimeric form is the dominant immunoglobulin in mucosal secretions. Secretory IgA appears to have prime importance in immune exclusion of pathogenic microorganisms and maintenance of intestinal homeostasis. Despite this critical role, there may be some compensatory mechanisms that would prevent disease manifestations in some IgA-deficient individuals.
Pathogenesis: In IgA deficiency, a maturation defect in B cells to produce IgA is commonly observed. Alterations in transmembrane activator and calcium modulator and cyclophilin ligand interactor gene appear to act as disease-modifying mutations in both IgA deficiency and common variable immunodeficiency, two diseases which probably lie in the same spectrum. Certain major histocompatibility complex haplotypes have been associated with susceptibility to IgA deficiency.
Conclusion: The genetic basis of IgA deficiency remains to be clarified. Better understanding of the production and function of IgA is essential in elucidating the disease mechanism in IgA deficiency.