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Rare Diffuse Lung Diseases of Genetic Origin

  • Paolo Spagnolo
Chapter

Abstract

Diffuse parenchymal lung diseases of genetic origin constitute a large and heterogeneous group of disorders that result from the transmission of mutations from a parent or ancestor. In the context of these rare entities pulmonary involvement may represent only one end of a wide spectrum of clinical manifestations. Pattern of inheritance and age of onset are highly variable: for instance, inborn errors of metabolism associated with a diffuse parenchymal lung disease are inherited in an autosomal recessive fashion, while telomerase-associated pulmonary fibrosis is inherited in an autosomal dominant one. In this latter case, younger and more severely affected individuals in successive generations can be observed (genetic anticipation). In addition, if there is reduced penetrance and variable expressivity, a patient may demonstrate only a subset of all possible clinical manifestations.

Diffuse parenchymal lung diseases of genetic origin are challenging for a number of reasons, including their low incidence and prevalence, which hamper the acquisition of expertise and frequently delays the diagnosis, and the incomplete knowledge of disease mechanisms, which, in turn, leads to the use of empirical – and often ineffective – therapeutic strategies. This implies that the primary goal of the treating physician should be the early recognition that a rare lung disease might be present (positive family history, absence of known risk factors for diffuse parenchymal lung diseases in full-term infants, and failure to improve in the expected time frame should prompt consideration of one of these disorders), and the referral to centres with specific expertise. Making the right diagnosis may not only prevent fatal complications in affected subjects but also lead to early diagnosis of the disease in other family members.

Keywords

Diffuse parenchymal lung diseases Lung fibrosis Rare lung diseases Genetic predisposition Genetics Lysosomal lipid storage disease Surfactant dysfunction disorders 

Abbreviations

DC

Dyskeratosis congenita

HPS

Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome

HRCT

High resolution computed tomography

ILD

Interstitial lung disease

NF1

Neurofibromatosis 1

NPC

Niemann-Pick C

NPD

Niemann-Pick disease

NSIP

Nonspecific interstitial pneumonia

SFTP

Surfactant protein

UIP

Usual interstitial pneumonia

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© Springer-Verlag London 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Medical University Clinic, Canton Hospital Baselland, University of BaselLiestalSwitzerland

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