Autoimmune neutropenia
Autoimmune neutropenia is a form of neutropenia
Neutropenia, from Latin prefix neutro- and Greek suffix -πενία , is a granulocyte disorder characterized by an abnormally low number of neutrophils, the most important type of white blood cell...

 which is most common in infants and young children where the body identifies the neutrophils as enemies and makes antibody to destroy them.

Primary autoimmune neutropenia (AIN) is an autoimmune disorder first reported in 1975 that primarily occurs in infancy. In autoimmune neutropenia, the immune system produces autoantibodies directed against the neutrophilic protein antigens in white blood cells known as granulocytic neutrophils (granulocytes, segmented neutrophils, segs, polysegmented neutrophils, polys). These antibodies destroy granulocytic neutrophils. Consequently, patients with autoimmune neutropenia have low levels of granulocytic neutrophilic white blood cells causing a condition of neutropenia. Neutropenia causes an increased risk of infection from organisms that the body could normally fight easily.

Who is Affected?

Primary autoimmune neutropenia has been reported as early as the second month of life although most cases are diagnosed in children between 5 and 15 months of age. Girls have a slightly higher risk of developing AIN than boys. In neutropenia discovered at birth or shortly after birth, a diagnosis of allo-immune neutropenia (from maternal white blood cell antibodies passively transferred to the infant) is more likely.


In infants neutropenia is defined by absolute neutrophil counts less than 1000/uL. After the first year of life neutropenia is defined by absolute counts less than 100/uL. Neutropenia may be primary in which is the only blood abnormality seen. In secondary neutropenia, other primary conditions occur, including other autoimmune diseases, infections, and malignancies. Neutropenia is considered chronic when it persists for more than 6 months.

Symptoms and Disease Course

Neutropenia, which may be discovered on routine blood tests, typically causes benign infections even when the condition is severe. Ear infections (otitis media) are the most common infection seen in autoimmune neutropenia and typically infection responds to antibiotic treatment alone. Infections associated with primary AIN are usually mild and limited, including skin infections such as impetigo, gastroenteritis, upper respiratory tract infections, and ear infections. Rarely, cellulitis and abscesses may occur.
Studies of children studied for up to six years showed that most cases of autoimmune neutropenia resolved spontaneously after a median of 17 months. In 80 percent of patients, neutropenia persisted for 7 to 24 months.


Patients with autoimmune neutropenia are diagnosed on the basis of blood tests showing neutropenia and the presence of granulocyte-specific antibodies. In some cases, tests for granulocyte-specific antibodies need to be repeated several times before a positive result is seen. Bone marrow aspiration, if performed, is typically normal or it can show increased cell production with a variably diminished number of segmented granulocytes.
s association with prior parvovirus B19 has been made but this hasn’t been confirmed. Similar to the platelet deficiency idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, vaccines are suspected of triggering this disorder.


Treatment consists of corticosteroids to reduce autoantibody production, antibiotics to prevent infection and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) to temporarily increase neutrophil counts. In cases of severe infection or the need for surgery, intravenous immunoglobulin therapy may be used.

Prognosis and treatment

This form usually lessens in severity within two years of diagnosis
Diagnosis is the identification of the nature and cause of anything. Diagnosis is used in many different disciplines with variations in the use of logics, analytics, and experience to determine the cause and effect relationships...


The use of prophylactic antibiotic
An antibacterial is a compound or substance that kills or slows down the growth of bacteria.The term is often used synonymously with the term antibiotic; today, however, with increased knowledge of the causative agents of various infectious diseases, antibiotic has come to denote a broader range of...

s has been proposed.

See article at BioMed Central site:
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