What is the role of immune dysfunction in the pathogenesis of aplastic anemia?

Updated: Jan 29, 2021
  • Author: Sameer Bakhshi, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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The role of an immune dysfunction was suggested in 1970, when autologous recovery was documented in a patient with aplastic anemia who failed to engraft after HCT. Mathe proposed that the immunosuppressive regimen used for conditioning promoted the return of normal marrow function. Since then, numerous studies have shown that, in approximately 70% of patients with acquired aplastic anemia, immunosuppressive therapy improves marrow function. [11, 18, 19, 20, 21]

Immunity is genetically regulated (by immune response genes), and it is also influenced by environment (eg, nutrition, aging, previous exposure). [22, 23] Although the inciting antigens that breach immune tolerance with subsequent autoimmunity are unknown, human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DR2 is overrepresented among European and United States patients with aplastic anemia, and its presence is predictive of a better response to cyclosporine.

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