Gastrointestinal manifestations in primary immune disorders

Shradha Agarwal, Lloyd Mayer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


The gastrointestinal tract is the largest lymphoid organ in the body containing T and B lymphocytes, macrophages, and dendritic cells. Despite the fact that these cells are constantly confronted with antigen primarily in the form of food and bacteria, immune responses in the gut are tightly regulated to maintain homeostasis. Without this balance of active immunity and tolerance, mucosal inflammation may ensue, and manifest as Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, pernicious anemia, or celiac sprue. Therefore, it is not unreasonable that inflammatory diseases of the gut are commonly encountered in patients with primary immune deficiencies. The exact pathogenesis of gastrointestinal diseases in the setting of primary immunodeficiency remains unknown, however, both humoral and cell-mediated immunity appear to play a role in preventing intestinal inflammation. Patients presenting with atypical gastrointestinal disease and/or failure to respond to conventional therapy should be evaluated for an underlying primary immune disorder in order to initiate appropriate treatment, such as immunoglobulin or in more severe cases bone marrow transplantation, to prevent long term complications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)703-711
Number of pages9
JournalInflammatory Bowel Diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2010


  • Gastrointestinal disease
  • Immunodeficiency
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Primary immune disorders


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