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Adenosine deaminase deficiency

Abstract

Adenosine deaminase deficiency (also called ADA deficiency or ADA-SCID) is an autosomal recessive metabolic disorder that causes immunodeficiency. It occurs in fewer than one in 100,000 live births worldwide.

It accounts for about 15% of all cases of severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID).

ADA deficiency may be present in infancy, childhood, adolescence, or adulthood. Age of onset and severity is related to some 29 known genotypes associated with the disorder.

Signs/symptoms

The main symptoms of ADA deficiency are pneumonia, chronic diarrhea, and widespread skin rashes. Affected children also grow much more slowly than healthy children and some have developmental delay. Most individuals with ADA deficiency are diagnosed with SCID in the first 6 months of life.

Genetics

The enzyme adenosine deaminase is encoded by a gene on chromosome 20.

ADA deficiency is inherited in an autosomal recessive manner. This means the defective gene responsible for the disorder is located on an autosome (chromosome 20 is an autosome), and two copies of the defective gene (one inherited from each parent) are required in order to be born with the disorder. The parents of an individual with an autosomal recessive disorder both carry one copy of the defective gene, but usually do not experience any signs or symptoms of the disorder.

Age of onset and severity is related to some 29 known genotypes associated with the disorder.

Pathophysiology

ADA deficiency is due to a lack of the enzyme adenosine deaminase. This deficiency results in an accumulation of deoxyadenosine, which, in turn, leads to:

- a buildup of dATP in all cells, which inhibits ribonucleotide reductase and prevents DNA synthesis, so cells are unable to divide. Since developing T cells and B cells are some of the most mitotically active cells, they are highly susceptible to this condition.

- an increase in S-adenosylhomocysteine since the enzyme adenosine deaminase is important in the purine salvage pathway; both substances are toxic to immature lymphocytes, which thus fail to mature.

Because T cells undergo proliferation and development in the thymus, affected individuals typically have a small, underdeveloped thymus. As a result, the immune system is severely compromised or completely lacking.

Diagnosis

The diagnosis is based on clinical features, with a concomitant decreased blood adenosine deaminase level supporting the diagnosis.

Treatment

Treatments include:

- bone marrow transplant

- ADA enzyme in PEG vehicle

Treatment | Gene Therapy

On September 1990, the first gene therapy to combat this disease was performed by Dr. William French Anderson on a four-year-old girl, Ashanti DeSilva, at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, U.S.A.

In April 2016 the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use of the European Medicines Agency endorsed and recommended for approval a stem cell gene therapy called Strimvelis, for children with ADA-SCID for whom no matching bone marrow donor is available.