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Hereditary angioedema: Historical aspects, classification, pathophysiology, clinical presentation, and laboratory diagnosis

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Hereditary angioedema (HAE) is a rare disorder first described in 1888 by Sir William Osler. Since then, our understanding of this condition has increased tremendously. This article reviews the historical aspects, classification, pathophysiology, clinical presentation, and laboratory diagnosis of HAE. A review was performed of historical and current literature of HAE. HAE I and II are related to insufficient production of C1-esterase inhibitor (C1-INH) or production of a dysfunctional C1-INH protein, respectively. HAE III is not related to C1-INH deficiency and the pathogenesis is unknown. Bradykinin appears to be the main mediator responsible for angioedema in patients with C1-INH deficiencies. Angioedema of the extremities, face, and upper airway along with gastrointestinal angioedema are the most common clinical features in HAE. The laboratory tests that are most commonly used in the diagnosis of HAE include C4, C1-INH concentration, and C1-INH function. Advances in our understanding of the pathogenesis of HAE have led to several advances in the therapy of this disease. Despite our more thorough understanding of the genetics and pathophysiology of HAE, many questions remain unanswered.
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Keywords: Bradykinin; C1-INH; C1-inhibitor; classification; clinical features; diagnosis; hereditary angioedema; history; pathophysiology; tests

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Division of Allergy and Immunology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas, USA

Publication date: 2011-01-01

More about this publication?
  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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