- Autosomal recessive inheritance
Primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD), formerly known as immotile cilia syndrome, was first described by Siewert as a combination of situs inversus, chronic sinusitis, and bronchiectasis in 1904. However, Manes Kartagener first recognized this clinical triad as a distinct congenital syndrome in 1933. Because Kartagener described this syndrome in detail, it bears his name. Kartagener’s syndrome (KS) is inherited via an autosomal recessive pattern. Its incidence is about 1 in 30,000 live births. Male patients with this syndrome are almost invariably infertile because of immotile spermatozoa. The immotility is due to variety of ultrastructural defects in respiratory cilia and sperm tail. Afzelius was the first to recognize the relationship between KS and male infertility when he observed lack of dynein arms in the sperms and cilia of four subjects, three with KS and a fourth one, brother of one of the three subjects.
- Ciliary functions:
- Motile cilia: Respiratory epithelial function, fertility, and determination of left-right orientation
- Primary (or sensory) cilia: Antennae for cells, sensing the extracullar environment and transducing signals back to the cell to facilitate its response. These functions are critically important in cell proliferation, differentiation, and maintenance.
Primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) “immotile cilia syndrome”:Defects in the function of the motile cilia give rise to primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD), or immotile cilia syndrome. PCD is the first human condition linked to abnormal ciliary function. Like other ciliopathies, PCD is genetically heterogeneous and patients demonstrate a spectrum of clinical manifestations with variable severity. Most patients demonstrate defective function of the outer dynein arms.
- Respiratory tract: Abnormal ciliary movements cause impaired mucociliary clearance that results in recurrent and chronic oto-sinopulmonary infections.
- Infertility: Sperm tail and fimbriae of fallopian tubes also have motile cilia therefore male and female infertility often results
- Situs abnormalities: Abnormal thoracoabdominal orientation results since normal ciliary movement needed for the visceral rotation during embryogenesis
The majority of newborns with primary ciliary dyskinesia develop neonatal respiratory distress with atelectasis on chest radiographs. Unlike other causes of respiratory distress in newborns, which occurs in the first few hours after birth, the respiratory distress with primary ciliary dyskinesia patients occurs 12 to 24 hours after birth in term infants.
- Chronic recurrent rhinosinusitis (caused by pseudomonal infection)
- Bronchiectasis (caused by pseudomonal infection)
- Situs inversus (50% cases)
- Male infertility (100%)
- Reduced female fertility or ectopic pregnancy
Diagnostic criteria:History of chronic bronchial infection and rhinitis from early childhood, combined with ≥ 1 features:
- Situs inversus or dextrocardia
- Alive but immotile spermatozoa
- Absent/impaired tracheobronchial clearance
- Cilia showing characteristic ultrastructural defect on electron microscopy
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Foreign body aspiration
- Idiopathic interstitial pneumonia
- Idiopathic nasal polyposis
- Post-infectious bronchiectasis
- Severe atopy
Treatment of Kartagener syndrome includes daily chest physiotherapy, antibiotics with good pseudomonal coverage, and supportive pulmonary care.