A syndrome associating partial albinism and immunodeficiency

Am J Med. 1978 Oct;65(4):691-702. doi: 10.1016/0002-9343(78)90858-6.


Two unrelated patients with partial albinism, frequent pyogenic infections and acute episodes of fever, neutropenia and thrombocytopenia are described. Their pigmentary dilution was characterized by large clumps of pigments in the hair shafts and an accumulation of melanosomes in melanocytes. Melanocytes had few short dendritic expansions, and keratinocytes were hypopigmented. No or few Langerhans' cells were detected in skin by electron microscopy and ATP-ase reactions. This pigmentary dilution, different from all other human albinisms, resembles the unique defect of the mutant dilute (d-d) mouse. Despite the presence of an adequate number of T and B lymphocytes, the patients were hypogammaglobulinemic, deficient in antibody production and incapable of manifesting delayed skin hypersensitivity or of rejecting skin grafts. Their leukocytes did not stimulate normal lymphocytes and could not generate cytotoxic cells during mixed leukocyte reaction. T lymphocytes of one patient were unable to exert a helper effect on the maturation of B lymphocytes into immunoglobulin-containing cells following in vitro stimulation with pokeweed mitogen. This suggests that the humoral deficiency might be secondary to a defect of helper T lymphocytes. Granulocytes did not show any morphologic abnormality, and their bactericidal activity was only moderately reduced. An increased number of polymorphonuclear leukocytes with polar distribution of Concanavaline A (Con A) receptors (capping) was found in one patient and her parents. The family histories suggest that this syndrome is transmitted as an autosomal recessive character.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Albinism / complications*
  • Albinism / immunology
  • Antibodies / analysis
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity, Delayed
  • Immunoglobulin A / analysis
  • Immunoglobulin G / analysis
  • Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes / complications*
  • Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes / immunology
  • Infant
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Lymphocyte Cooperation
  • Neutrophils / immunology
  • Receptors, Concanavalin A / immunology
  • Syndrome


  • Antibodies
  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Receptors, Concanavalin A