What are Antibodies and Their Structure?An antibody is a large Y-shaped protein that is produced by the immune system of the body in response to the entry of certain foreign disease-causing objects such as viruses, bacteria, or any other microorganisms in the body. These antibodies fight against these foreign diseases causing agents and neutralize them. The antibody is a Y-shaped structure and consists of two-light and two-heavy polypeptide chains. Polypeptide chains are consisting of several amino acids. An amino acid is a basic building unit of protein.
What is Alpha Heavy Chain Disease?Heavy chain disease is a plasma cell cancer characterized by incomplete production of antibodies with overproduction of heavy chains without associated light chains. The clinical characteristics of the disease are diarrhea and malabsorption.
Disease Etiology (Causes)There is no exact-well known cause, however, there is an association between the alpha-HCD and immunoproliferative small intestinal disease.
Disease EpidemiologyIt is distributed in the countries of North Africa and the Middle East / Mediterranean. It is also common in populations with poor sanitation. It is a rare disease, with 400 cases reported worldwide to date. It usually affects young people, whose average age ranges from 20-30 years.
Signs and SymptomsThe patient may suffer from the following signs and symptoms. These are
- Abdominal Pain or discomfort
- Weight loss
- Intestinal worm infestation
DiagnosisThe following diagnostic techniques and procedures can be used to make a diagnosis. These are
- Serum test for the detection of antibodies
- UCE (urine complete examination)
- Stool analysis