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Safety and efficacy of alpha-1-antitrypsin augmentation therapy in the treatment of patients with alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency

Authors Petrache I, Hajjar J, Campos M

Published 4 May 2009 Volume 2009:3 Pages 193—204


Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Irina Petrache1, Joud Hajjar1, Michael Campos2

1Department of Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; 2Department of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Florida, USA

Abstract: Alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency (AATD), also known as alpha1-proteinase inhibitor deficiency, is an autosomal co-dominant condition. The genotypes associated with AATD include null, deficient, and dysfunctional alpha-1-antitrypsin (A1AT) variants, which result in low levels of circulating functional A1AT, unbalanced protease activity, and an increased risk of developing lung emphysema, the leading cause of morbidity in these patients. Furthermore, the most common abnormal genotype, Pi*ZZ may also cause trapping of abnormally folded protein polymers in hepatocytes causing liver dysfunction. A major focus of therapy for patients with lung disease due to AATD is to correct the A1AT deficiency state by augmenting serum levels with intravenous infusions of human plasma-derived A1AT. This strategy has been associated with effective elevations of A1AT levels and function in serum and lung epithelial fluid and observational studies suggest that it may lead to attenuation in lung function decline, particularly in patients with moderate impairment of lung function. In addition, an observational study suggests that augmentation therapy is associated with a reduction of mortality in subjects with AATD and moderate to severe lung impairment. More recent randomized placebo-controlled studies utilizing computer scan densitometry suggest that this therapy attenuates lung tissue loss. Augmentation therapy has a relative paucity of side effects, but it is highly expensive. Therefore, this therapy is recommended for patients with AATD who have a high-risk A1AT genotype with plasma A1AT below protective levels (11 µM) and evidence of obstructive lung disease. In this article, we review the published evidence of A1AT augmentation therapy efficacy, side effects, and safety profile.

Keywords: alpha-1 antitrypsin, COPD, intravenous augmentation therapy

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