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Keywords:

  • autoimmune diseases;
  • inflammatory diseases, intravenous immunoglobulin;
  • immunodeficiency

Summary

Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) is a therapeutic compound prepared from pools of plasma obtained from several thousand healthy blood donors. For more than 20 years, IVIG has been used in the treatment of a wide range of primary and secondary immunodeficiencies. IVIG now represents a standard therapeutic option for most antibody deficiencies. Routinely, IVIG is used in patients with X-linked agammaglobulinaemia (XLA), common variable immunodeficiency (CVID), X-linked hyper-IgM, severe combined immunodeficiency, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, and selective IgG class deficiency. In addition, IVIG is used extensively in the treatment of a wide variety of autoimmune disorders. IVIG is administered at distinct doses in the two clinical settings: whereas immunodeficient patients are treated with replacement levels of IVIG, patients with autoimmune and inflammatory diseases are administered with very high doses of IVIG. Several lines of experimental evidence gathered in the recent years suggest that the therapeutic beneficial effect of IVIG in immunodeficiencies reflects an active role for IVIG, rather than a mere passive transfer of antibodies.