Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency

Article Author:
Angel Justiz Vaillant

Article Editor:
Faran Ahmad

Editors In Chief:
Ishwarlal Jialal

Managing Editors:
Avais Raja
Orawan Chaigasame
Khalid Alsayouri
Kyle Blair
Radia Jamil
Erin Hughes
Patrick Le
Anoosh Zafar Gondal
Saad Nazir
William Gossman
Hassam Zulfiqar
Navid Mahabadi
Hussain Sajjad
Steve Bhimji
Muhammad Hashmi
John Shell
Matthew Varacallo
Heba Mahdy
Ahmad Malik
Abbey Smiley
Sarosh Vaqar
Mark Pellegrini
James Hughes
Beenish Sohail
Hajira Basit
Phillip Hynes
Sandeep Sekhon

11/15/2019 6:08:07 PM


Leukocyte adhesion deficiency (LAD) is a defect of cellular adhesion molecules resulting in clinical syndromes. It is a combined (B cell) and cellular (T cell) immunodeficiency disorder.

Major immunologic features[1][2]:

  • There is an inability to form pus.
  • There is a deficiency of various glycoproteins including LFA-1/Mac-1, glycoprotein 150/95.
  • Leukocytes cannot migrate to infection sites to kill invading microorganisms due to mutations in the CD18 glycoprotein.
  • Adhesion molecules deficiency results in abnormal inflammatory response and eventually recurrent bacterial infections.


Primarily, leukocytes cannot escape from the blood to tissues that have been attacked by microbes. Continuous surveillance of foreign antigens by leukocyte trafficking suffers disruption as well. There are three different types of LAD[1][3]:

  • Type I - in which steady adhesion of leukocyte to endothelial surfaces is defective by mutations in CD18 gene resulting in defective or deficient beta-2 integrin
  • Type II - in which there is an absence of Sialyl Lewis X of E-selectin
  • Type III - in which there is a defect in beta integrins 1, 2, and 3; this impairs the integrin activation cascade - specifically, a mutation in the kindlin-3 gene causes this type of LAD

LAD has an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance.

  • Seven new mutations in the ITGB2 gene reported, which encode the beta2 integrin family including three frameshift deletions (Tyr382fsX9, Asn282fsX41, and Lys636fsX22), two splicing (IVS4-6C>A, IVS7+1G>A) and three missense (Asp128Tyr, Gly716Ala, and Ala239Thr).[4]  


Leukocyte adhesion deficiency type-1 (LAD-I) is a rare, inherited combined deficiency disorder of the immune system; it affects 1 in 1 million people annually and frequently presents with recurrent, indolent bacterial infections.[5]

The literature review of the clinical findings of patients with LAD-I reveals that recurrent infections (93.3%) and poor wound healing (86%) are the most prevalent clinical findings. A defect in CD18 (the beta subunit of the integrins) was present in all patients.[6]

Mortality for severe leukocyte adhesion deficiency-I was reported as 75% by the age of 2 years (in an initial 1988 multicenter retrospective evaluation). Patients with moderate disease  (2% to 30% CD18-expressing neutrophils) survive childhood, with multiple infections affecting the skin and mucosal surfaces; documented mortality exceeds 50% by the age of 40 years.[7]


Deficiency of the following integrins: LFA-1/Mac-1, p150 and p95 cause the immunologic and clinical abnormalities seen in leukocyte adhesion deficiency. These proteins functions as adhesion molecules. They are present on lymphocytes, granulocytes, monocytes, and large granular lymphocytes. LFA-1, Mac-1, and glycoprotein 150/95 have a common beta chain but have distinct alpha chains denominated M1 (Mac-1 molecule), L1 (LFA-1 molecule), and X1 (p150,95 molecules). A defect in the beta subunit is accountable for the decreased expression of LFA-1/Mac-1 polypeptide. Natural killer cell activity is not affected. The lesion is on chromosome 21, noted in some patients studied by molecular biology techniques.[8] 


Characteristically, biopsy of infected tissue demonstrates inflammatory infiltrates completely devoid of neutrophils. Remnants of the umbilical cord can show a loose edematous tissue with remarkably few inflammatory cells. In contrast, there is an elevated level of peripheral blood leucocytes (over 29000/microliters) due to an impaired mobilization of leukocytes to extravascular sites of inflammation.[9]

History and Physical

The classic presentation of leukocyte adhesion deficiency is recurrent bacterial infections, neutrophil adhesion defects, and umbilical cord sloughing delays. The adhesion defects result in poor leukocyte chemotaxis, particularly the neutrophil, with an inability to form pus and neutrophilia.

Individuals with leukocyte adhesion deficiency commonly suffer from bacterial infections beginning in the neonatal period. Infections such as omphalitis, pneumonia, gingivitis, and peritonitis are common and usually life-threatening due to the inability to destroy the invading pathogens. Individuals with LAD do not form abscesses because granulocytes cannot migrate to the sites of infection.

Characteristics of patients with LAD include the following[6][10][11]:


  • Delayed separation of the umbilical cord
  • Recurrent pyogenic infections, with onset in the first weeks of life
  • Infections caused meanly by Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Absent pus formation
  • Periodontitis


  • Recurrent skin infections
  • Pneumonia
  • Bronchiectasis
  • Tuberculosis    
  • Denture abnormalities
  • Infections are less severe and fewer as compared to LAD I


  • Omphalitis
  • Osteoporosis like bone features
  • Bleeding complications
  • Hematological abnormalities, e.g., bone marrow failure

Other miscellaneous manifestations may include: 

  • Vaginitis
  • Peritonitis
  • Osteomyelitis
  • Perianal abscesses 
  • Sinusitis
  • Tracheobronchitis
  • Necrotic soft tissue infections
  • Otitis media
  • Meningitis
  • Graft versus host reaction
  • Recurrent tonsillitis
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Granuloma
  • Oral candidiasis
  • Aphthous stomatitis
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Lymphocytic interstitial pneumonitis
  • Glomerulonephritis
  • Hemolytic-uremic syndrome
  • Nail dystrophy 
  • Persistent Hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia of infancy
  • Pyoderma gangrenosum
  • Megakaryocytic acute myeloid leukemia


The immunological investigation of a patient with leukocyte adhesion deficiency includes[12][13][7]:

Flow Cytometry Analysis (definitive test):

  • Demonstrates the absence of functional CD18 and the associated alpha subunit molecules on the surface of leukocytes using CD11 and CD18 monoclonal antibodies (LAD I)
  • Demonstrates the absence of sialyl Lewis X expression (CD15a) using a monoclonal antibody directed against sialyl Lewis X ( LAD-II)

Sequence analysis using genetic testing.

  • To define the exact molecular defect in the beta-2 subunit

Quantitative Serum Immunoglobulins.

  • IgG
  • IgM
  • IgA
  • IgE

Antibody Activity. 

IgG antibodies (post-immunization)

  • Tetanus toxoid
  • Diphtheria toxoid
  • Pneumococcal polysaccharide
  • Polio

IgG antibodies (post-exposure)

  • Rubella
  • Measles
  • Varicella Zoster

Detection of isohemagglutinins (IgM)

  • Anti-type A blood
  • Anti-type B blood

Other assays

  • Test for heterophile antibody
  • Anti-streptolysin O titer
  • Immunodiagnosis of infectious diseases (HIV, hepatitis B, and C, HTLV and dengue)
  • Serum protein electrophoresis

Blood lymphocyte subpopulations

  • Total lymphocyte count
  • T lymphocytes (CD3, CD4, and CD8)
  • B lymphocytes (CD19 and CD20)
  • CD4/CD8 ratio

Lymphocyte stimulation assays

  • Phorbol ester and ionophore
  • Phytohemagglutinin
  • Antiserum to CD3
  • Chemotaxis of human lymphocytes

Phagocytic function  

Nitroblue tetrazolium (NBT) test (before and after stimulation with endotoxin)

  • Unstimulated
  • Stimulated

Neutrophil mobility

  • In medium alone
  • In the presence of chemoattractant
  • In vivo and in vitro chemotaxis of granulocytes

Complement System Evaluation

Measurement of individuals components by immunoprecipitation tests, ELISA, or Western blotting

  • C3 serum levels
  • C4 serum levels
  • Factor B serum levels 
  • C1 inhibitor serum levels

Hemolytic assays

  • CH50
  • CH100

Complement system functional studies

  • Classical pathway assay (using IgM on a microtiter plate)
  • Alternative pathway assay (using LPS on a microtiter plate)
  • Mannose pathway assay (using mannose on a microtiter plate)  

Microbiological studies

  • Nasopharyngeal swab (testing for Rhinovirus)
  • Stool (testing for viral, bacterial or parasitic infection)
  • Sputum (bacterial culture and pneumocystis PCR)
  • Blood (bacterial culture, HIV by PCR, HTLV testing)
  • Urine (testing for cytomegalovirus and proteinuria)
  • Cerebrospinal fluid (culture, chemistry, and histopathology)

Other investigations of immunodeficiency disorders 

  • Bone marrow biopsy
  • Complete blood cell count    
  • Blood chemistry
  • Histopathological studies
  • Tumoral markers
  • Levels of cytokines
  • Chest x-ray
  • Diagnostic ultrasound
  • Liver function test

Treatment / Management

  • The treatment of LAD-I is allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT). By the age of 2 years, the disease is fatal in severe cases without HSCT.[7][14][7] 
  • Ustekinumab, a monoclonal antibody of the p40 subunit common to IL-12 and IL-23, had been used successfully to treat refractory periodontitis and sacral ulcer in a case report with mild LAD I.[15] However, further studies are necessary to determine safety and efficacy, particularly in patients with more severe disease.  
  • Recombinant human interferon-gamma treatment has been used in LAD-I. [16]
  • A trial of fucose supplementation is recommended in all patients diagnosed with LAD II[17]
  • Recombinant factor VIIa is considered effective in treating and preventing severe bleeding in a child patient with LAD III [18]
  • Use of prophylactic immunoglobulin therapy was successful in two patients with a severe form of LAD.[19]  
  • More conservative treatment is directed against specific infectious agents. Patients are infected with common pathogenic agents but no with opportunistic ones and should respond well to antimicrobial therapy. The most common pathogens affecting patients with LAD include Proteus, Klebsiella, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and enterococci.  Early aggressive treatment should be used or given as prophylactic therapy (e.g., dental procedures).

Differential Diagnosis

Differentials for leukocyte adhesion deficiency include the following list of disorders[20]:

  • Bare lymphocyte syndrome   
  • Chronic granulomatous disease    
  • Chediak-Higashi syndrome    
  • Hyper IgE syndrome 
  • All of these immunological disorders have abnormal chemotaxis and/or abnormal respiratory burst activity but can be differentiated clinically, by immunohistochemistry and molecular biology techniques


The leukocyte adhesion deficiency prognosis varies depending on the severity of the disease; it is usually fatal before one year of age. Moderate LAD cases can live longer than the third decade of life with appropriate antimicrobial therapy. Those patients with successful allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant can have a better quality of life.


The most common complications are infectious diseases affecting the skin, respiratory system, gastrointestinal system, oral cavity, and some internal organs. Leukocyte adhesion deficiency has a high mortality rate.

Deterrence and Patient Education

Consanguineous couples with an affected child should be counsel about the likelihood of having another affected child. The should counsel about patient care in health and disease. 

Enhancing Healthcare Team Outcomes

An interprofessional team should treat a patient with leukocyte adhesion deficiency, comprised of a specialty trained genetics nurse, pediatrician, geneticist, clinical immunologist, and an infectious disease specialist. This problem is not treatable in a primary care facility. Parents of a child affected with LAD should receive counsel about the disease, and the integral management of the patient. Parents also require psychological support.

Interested in Participating?

We are looking for contributors to author, edit, and peer review our vast library of review articles and multiple choice questions. In as little as 2-3 hours you can make a significant contribution to your specialty. In return for a small amount of your time, you will receive free access to all content and you will be published as an author or editor in eBooks, apps, online CME/CE activities, and an online Learning Management System for students, teachers, and program directors that allows access to review materials in over 500 specialties.

Improve Content - Become an Author or Editor

This is an academic project designed to provide inexpensive peer-reviewed Apps, eBooks, and very soon an online CME/CE system to help students identify weaknesses and improve knowledge. We would like you to consider being an author or editor. Please click here to learn more. Thank you for you for your interest, the StatPearls Publishing Editorial Team.

Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency - Questions

Take a quiz of the questions on this article.

Take Quiz
A 4-month-old baby boy is brought to the emergency department for complaints of fatigue and a fever of 39.1 C. His mother reports that he suffers from recurrent infections believed to be caused by bacteria since the age of 1 month and has responded well to the treatment with antibiotics. Laboratory findings include defective phagocytosis. Which of the following immunohistochemical findings is most likely to be found in this patient?

Click Your Answer Below

Would you like to access teaching points and more information on this topic?

Improve Content - Become an Author or Editor and get free access to the entire database, free eBooks, as well as free CME/CE as it becomes available. If interested, please click on "Sign Up" to register.

Purchase- Want immediate access to questions, answers, and teaching points? They can be purchased above at Apps and eBooks.

Sign Up
A 25-days-old female infant is brought to the emergency department for a skin infection and intestinal and perianal ulcers. A genetic study shows a rare mutation in the CD11c gene. Her CBC reveals leukocytosis. Which of the following is the most likely clinical feature that may be presented in this case?

Click Your Answer Below

Would you like to access teaching points and more information on this topic?

Improve Content - Become an Author or Editor and get free access to the entire database, free eBooks, as well as free CME/CE as it becomes available. If interested, please click on "Sign Up" to register.

Purchase- Want immediate access to questions, answers, and teaching points? They can be purchased above at Apps and eBooks.

Sign Up
A 3-year-old boy is brought to the clinic with frequent ear infections and skin ulcerations. Leukocyte adhesion deficiency is suspected. In order to further diagnose the skin lesion, a biopsy is performed. Which histopathological finding of the skin lesion would most likely confirm the diagnosis?

Click Your Answer Below

Would you like to access teaching points and more information on this topic?

Improve Content - Become an Author or Editor and get free access to the entire database, free eBooks, as well as free CME/CE as it becomes available. If interested, please click on "Sign Up" to register.

Purchase- Want immediate access to questions, answers, and teaching points? They can be purchased above at Apps and eBooks.

Sign Up
A 2-year-old female is being seen in the clinic for complaints of frequent hospital admission for respiratory infections as well as periodontitis requiring treatment with antibiotics. Which pathophysiological mechanism is involved in recurrent periodontitis?

Click Your Answer Below

Would you like to access teaching points and more information on this topic?

Improve Content - Become an Author or Editor and get free access to the entire database, free eBooks, as well as free CME/CE as it becomes available. If interested, please click on "Sign Up" to register.

Purchase- Want immediate access to questions, answers, and teaching points? They can be purchased above at Apps and eBooks.

Sign Up
A 2-year-old boy presented to the clinic with the complaint of delayed wound healing in the leg after he suffered a laceration due to a fall. The parents recalled that he had delayed separation of the umbilical cord and then frequent respiratory and skin infections. On exam, he had inflammation of the gums as well as tooth loss. Muscle tone was normal, and his height was within the normal expected range. Which genetic deficiency is the expected cause of this immunodeficiency?

Click Your Answer Below

Would you like to access teaching points and more information on this topic?

Improve Content - Become an Author or Editor and get free access to the entire database, free eBooks, as well as free CME/CE as it becomes available. If interested, please click on "Sign Up" to register.

Purchase- Want immediate access to questions, answers, and teaching points? They can be purchased above at Apps and eBooks.

Sign Up

Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency - References


Hanna S,Etzioni A, Leukocyte adhesion deficiencies. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 2012 Feb;     [PubMed]
Stepensky PY,Wolach B,Gavrieli R,Rousso S,Ben Ami T,Goldman V,Rozovsky K,Hanna S,Etzioni A,Weintraub M, Leukocyte adhesion deficiency type III: clinical features and treatment with stem cell transplantation. Journal of pediatric hematology/oncology. 2015 May;     [PubMed]
Tokunaga M,Miyamura K,Ohashi H,Ishiwada N,Terakura S,Ikeguchi M,Kuwatsuka Y,Inamoto Y,Oba T,Tsuchiya S,Kodera Y, Successful nonmyeloablative bone marrow transplantation for leukocyte adhesion deficiency type I from an unrelated donor. International journal of hematology. 2007 Jul;     [PubMed]
Cox DP,Weathers DR, Leukocyte adhesion deficiency type 1: an important consideration in the clinical differential diagnosis of prepubertal periodontitis. A case report and review of the literature. Oral surgery, oral medicine, oral pathology, oral radiology, and endodontics. 2008 Jan;     [PubMed]
Movahedi M,Entezari N,Pourpak Z,Mamishi S,Chavoshzadeh Z,Gharagozlou M,Mir-Saeeid-Ghazi B,Fazlollahi MR,Zandieh F,Bemanian MH,Farhoudi A,Aghamohammadi A, Clinical and laboratory findings in Iranian patients with leukocyte adhesion deficiency (study of 15 cases). Journal of clinical immunology. 2007 May;     [PubMed]
Justiz Vaillant AA,Qurie A, Immunodeficiency 2018 Jan;     [PubMed]
Simpson AM,Chen K,Bohnsack JF,Lamont MN,Siddiqi FA,Gociman B, Pyoderma Gangrenosum-like Wounds in Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency: Case Report and Review of Literature. Plastic and reconstructive surgery. Global open. 2018 Aug;     [PubMed]
Nigar S,Khan EA,Ahmad TA, Leukocyte adhesion defect: An uncommon immunodeficiency. JPMA. The Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association. 2018 Jan;     [PubMed]
Almarza Novoa E,Kasbekar S,Thrasher AJ,Kohn DB,Sevilla J,Nguyen T,Schwartz JD,Bueren JA, Leukocyte adhesion deficiency-I: A comprehensive review of all published cases. The journal of allergy and clinical immunology. In practice. 2018 Jul - Aug;     [PubMed]
Weening RS,Bredius RG,Vomberg PP,van der Schoot CE,Hoogerwerf M,Roos D, Recombinant human interferon-gamma treatment in severe leucocyte adhesion deficiency. European journal of pediatrics. 1992 Feb;     [PubMed]
Yamazaki-Nakashimada M,Maravillas-Montero JL,Berrón-Ruiz L,López-Ortega O,Ramírez-Alejo N,Acevedo-Ochoa E,Rivas-Larrauri F,Llamas-Guillén B,Blancas-Galicia L,Scheffler-Mendoza S,Olaya-Vargas A,Santos-Argumedo L, Successful adjunctive immunoglobulin treatment in patients affected by leukocyte adhesion deficiency type 1 (LAD-1). Immunologic research. 2015 Mar;     [PubMed]
Thomas C,Le Deist F,Cavazzana-Calvo M,Benkerrou M,Haddad E,Blanche S,Hartmann W,Friedrich W,Fischer A, Results of allogeneic bone marrow transplantation in patients with leukocyte adhesion deficiency. Blood. 1995 Aug 15;     [PubMed]
Roberts MW,Atkinson JC, Oral manifestations associated with leukocyte adhesion deficiency: a five-year case study. Pediatric dentistry. 1990 Apr-May;     [PubMed]
Parvaneh N,Mamishi S,Rezaei A,Rezaei N,Tamizifar B,Parvaneh L,Sherkat R,Ghalehbaghi B,Kashef S,Chavoshzadeh Z,Isaeian A,Ashrafi F,Aghamohammadi A, Characterization of 11 new cases of leukocyte adhesion deficiency type 1 with seven novel mutations in the ITGB2 gene. Journal of clinical immunology. 2010 Sep;     [PubMed]
Niethammer D,Dieterle U,Kleihauer E,Wildfeuer A,Haferkamp O,Hitzig WH, An inherited defect in granulocyte function: impaired chemotaxis, phagocytosis and intracellular killing of microorganisms. Helvetica paediatrica acta. 1976 Apr;     [PubMed]
Nezelof C, Chronic omphalitis in a 4-month-old girl. Pathology, research and practice. 1991 Mar;     [PubMed]
Naess A,Sjursen H,Leegaard J, Leukocyte adhesion deficiency in a Norwegian boy. Scandinavian journal of infectious diseases. 1999;     [PubMed]
Moutsopoulos NM,Zerbe CS,Wild T,Dutzan N,Brenchley L,DiPasquale G,Uzel G,Axelrod KC,Lisco A,Notarangelo LD,Hajishengallis G,Notarangelo LD,Holland SM, Interleukin-12 and Interleukin-23 Blockade in Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency Type 1. The New England journal of medicine. 2017 Mar 23     [PubMed]
Marquardt T,Lühn K,Srikrishna G,Freeze HH,Harms E,Vestweber D, Correction of leukocyte adhesion deficiency type II with oral fucose. Blood. 1999 Dec 15     [PubMed]
Saultier P,Szepetowski S,Canault M,Falaise C,Poggi M,Suchon P,Barlogis V,Michel G,Loyau S,Jandrot-Perrus M,Bordet JC,Alessi MC,Chambost H, Long-term management of leukocyte adhesion deficiency type III without hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Haematologica. 2018 Jun     [PubMed]


The intent of StatPearls is to provide practice questions and explanations to assist you in identifying and resolving knowledge deficits. These questions and explanations are not intended to be a source of the knowledge base of all of medicine, nor is it intended to be a board or certification review of Pathology-Chemistry. The authors or editors do not warrant the information is complete or accurate. The reader is encouraged to verify each answer and explanation in several references. All drug indications and dosages should be verified before administration.

StatPearls offers the most comprehensive database of free multiple-choice questions with explanations and short review chapters ever developed. This system helps physicians, medical students, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, and allied health professionals identify education deficits and learn new concepts. StatPearls is not a board or certification review system for Pathology-Chemistry, it is a learning system that you can use to help improve your knowledge base of medicine for life-long learning. StatPearls will help you identify your weaknesses so that when you are ready to study for a board or certification exam in Pathology-Chemistry, you will already be prepared.

Our content is updated continuously through a multi-step peer review process that will help you be prepared and review for a thorough knowledge of Pathology-Chemistry. When it is time for the Pathology-Chemistry board and certification exam, you will already be ready. Besides online study quizzes, we also publish our peer-reviewed content in eBooks and mobile Apps. We also offer inexpensive CME/CE, so our content can be used to attain education credits while you study Pathology-Chemistry.