Alpha-1 antitrypsin is a major protein in the blood that it is produced mainly in liver cells. When you don't have enough alpha-1 antitrypsin, you might have Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency, sometimes called Alpha-1. Alpha-1 can affect two major organs in the body - the lungs and the liver. The reason is because the defective protein that characterizes Alpha-1 is important to both of these vital organs.
When Alpha-1 affects the lungs, it can cause COPD and is called Alpha-1 Deficiency or inherited emphysema.
When Alpha-1 affects the liver, it is called inherited liver disease.
There may also be an association between Alpha-1 and atypical TB infections in the lung, also called Non-Tuberculous Mycobacteria.
Reviewed on 3/2010