Intravenous usage of gammaglobulin: Humoral immunodeficiency, immune thrombocytopenic purpura, and newer indications Academic Article Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Asthma
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid
  • Glycoproteins


  • Intravenous gammaglobulin is effective therapy of ITP and other autoantibody-mediated immune cytopenias. All children as well as adults unresponsive to splenectomy or with known immune deficiency are probably the best candidates for treatment with IVGG. Its major advantage, in addition to its efficacy of treatment and possible remission-inducing effect, is that it has the fewest side effects of any treatment of ITP so that it is the best maintenance therapy of patients when effective. Future uses of IVGG remain to be determined. Premature infants with a high mortality from sepsis and with hypogammaglobulinemia due to termination of pregnancy prior to transplacental antibody transfer may benefit from IVGG. A preliminary study suggested such benefit and also showed safety of IVGG treatment in that there was no impaired immune responsiveness of these prematures at 2 years of age (28). Another potential usage of IVGG involves the treatment of the hypogammaglobulinemia associated with certain types of malignancy. Patients with CLL, especially in the advanced stages, are often hypogammaglobulinemic. Multiple myeloma and Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia are two other B-cell malignancies associated with antibody production defects which might benefit from antibody replacement therapy. Therapeutic IgG levels may be harder to obtain due to hypercatabolism of immunoglobulin. The issue of immune hyporesponsiveness during intensive chemotherapy is also unexplored. Secondary antibody responses do not seem to be impaired, but primary responses, as tested in numerous immunization studies, are decidedly impaired. Certain protocols, especially those treating high-risk acute leukemias and neuroblastoma during induction therapy are intensive with high rates of sepsis, and may warrant trials of prophylactic IVGG. Similarly, some form of humoral prophylaxis is becoming an important part of the handling of the patient undergoing bone marrow transplantation not only to prevent bacterial sepsis but also to prevent cytomegalovirus (CMV) interstitial pneumonitis. A likely additional usage is gammaglobulin replacement for patients undergoing plasmapheresis, especially if performed multiple times. Finally, the broad spectrum of antibacterial and antiviral antibodies present in the preparations (such as anti-CMV, anti-Group B strep, and antiendotoxin) and the ease and safety of delivery allow the preparations to be used in situations where a hyperimmune preparation might be desired and/or where more than one pathogen is possible. In summary, IVGG is a treatment capable of safely conferring significant benefits to selected patients.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

publication date

  • January 1985



  • Academic Article


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.3109/07357908509039797

PubMed ID

  • 4040795

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 361

end page

  • 6


  • 3


  • 4