Autoimmune Lymphoproliferative Syndrome (ALPS) is an inherited disorder of the immune system that affects both children and adults. In ALPS, unusually high numbers of white blood cells called lymphocytes accumulate in the lymph nodes, liver, and spleen, which can lead to enlargement of these organs. ALPS can cause numerous autoimmune problems such as anemia (low count of red blood cells), thrombocytopenia (low count of platelets), and neutropenia (low count of neutrophils, the most common type of white blood cell in humans).
NIH first began to study ALPS in 1990, when researchers saw a child who had immune system symptoms that did not fit any previously known disorders. In 1995, after evaluation of multiple patients with similar symptoms, NIH named this newly identified condition ALPS. As of 2007, NIH had evaluated and diagnosed ALPS in more than 250 patients. These patients come from all over the country and are of many different ethnic backgrounds.
Last Updated April 03, 2012
Last Reviewed August 11, 2010