Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome

Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome (WAS) is a rare immunodeficiency disease with a characteristic phenotype that includes:

  • X-linked recessive
  • petechiae, bloody diarrhoea, epistaxis due to thrombocytopenia with small platelets
  • eczema starts in first month of life
  • recurrent infections with encapsulated bacteria due to immunodeficiency
  • increased incidence of autoimmune manifestations and malignancies 

The incidence currently quoted is approximately 4 per million live male births, although there can be regional variation. Rarely occurs in females.

The pathophysiology relates to structural mutation with defective actin polymerisation in haematopoietic cells as a result of deficient or dysregulated activity of the Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (WASp) which has multiple functions. There is a poor antibody response to polysaccharide antigens. Low IgM, but high IgA and IgE levels.

It is mostly an X-linked recessive condition.

The severity of disease is variable and can be predictable from the genotype to a certain degree. Bone marrow transplantation may be the only definitive treatment 5.

It was originally described by Wiskott in 1937 as a triad of ear discharge, eczema and thrombocytopenia. The genetics, i.e. X-linked recessive disorder, were described by Aldrich 7 in 1954.

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Article information

rID: 41754
System: Haematology
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Wiskott Aldrich syndrome
  • Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome (WAS)

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