Immune dysregulation, polyendocrinopathy, enteropathy, X-linked (IPEX) syndrome: A systematic review

Autoimmun Rev. 2020 Jun;19(6):102526. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2020.102526. Epub 2020 Mar 29.


Background: Immune dysregulation, polyendocrinopathy, enteropathy, X-linked (IPEX) syndrome is a monogenic disorder characterized by early onset fatal multi-system autoimmunity due to loss-of-function mutations in the gene encoding the forkhead box P3 (FOXP3) transcription factor which is crucial for the development, maturation, and maintenance of CD4+ regulatory T (T-reg) cells. Various autoimmune phenomena such as enteropathy, endocrinopathies, cytopenias, renal disease, and skin manifestations are characteristic findings in patients affected by IPEX syndrome.

Objectives: In this systematic review, we focus on both clinical and demographic characteristics of IPEX patients, highlighting possible genotype-phenotype correlations and address prognostic factors for disease outcome.

Methods: We performed a literature search to systematically investigate the case reports of IPEX which were published before August 7th, 2017.

Results: A total of 75 articles (195 patients) were identified. All IPEX patients included had FOXP3 mutations which were most frequently located in the forkhead domain (n = 68, 34.9%) followed by the leucine-zipper domain (n = 30, 15.4%) and repressor domain (n = 36, 18.4%). Clinical manifestations were as follows: enteropathy (n = 191, 97.9%), skin manifestations (n = 121, 62.1%), endocrinopathy (n = 104, 53.3%), hematologic abnormalities (n = 75, 38.5%), infections (n = 78, 40.0%), other immune-related complications (n = 43, 22.1%), and renal involvement (n = 32, 16.4%). Enteropathic presentations (P = 0.017), eczema (P = 0.030), autoimmune hemolytic anemia (P = 0.022) and food allergy (P = 0.009) were associated with better survival, while thrombocytopenia (P = 0.034), septic shock (P = 0.045) and mutations affecting the repressor domain (P = 0.021), intron 7 (P = 0.033) or poly A sequence (P = 0.025) were associated with increased risk of death. Immunosuppressive therapy alone was significantly associated with increased cumulative survival compared to patients who received no treatment (P = 0.041).

Conclusions: We report the most comprehensive summary of demographic and clinical profiles derived from a total of 195 IPEX patients with deleterious mutations in FOXP3. Analysis of our findings provides new insights into genotype/phenotype correlations, and clinical and genetic factors associated with increased risk of death and response to treatment strategies.

Keywords: Enteropathy; FOXP3 mutation; Genotype-phenotype correlation; Immune dysregulation; Polyendocrinopathy; Systematic review; X-linked (IPEX) syndrome.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Genetic Diseases, X-Linked* / immunology
  • Genetic Diseases, X-Linked* / pathology
  • Humans
  • Immune System Diseases* / immunology
  • Immune System Diseases* / pathology
  • Intestinal Diseases* / immunology
  • Intestinal Diseases* / pathology
  • Mutation
  • Polyendocrinopathies, Autoimmune* / immunology
  • Polyendocrinopathies, Autoimmune* / pathology
  • Syndrome
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology


  • FOXP3 protein, human
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors