Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency

Reviewed by Robert A. Sandhaus, MD, PhD, FCCP

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 Alpha-1 emphysema.

  • When Alpha-1 affects the liver, it is called Alpha-1 liver disease.

  • There may also be an association between Alpha-1 and atypical TB infections in the lung, also called Non-Tuberculous Mycobacteria.

Our Specialists

  • Karina A. Serban
    Karina A. Serban, MD
  • Richard D. Mountain
    Richard D. Mountain, MD, FCCP

Clinical Trials

For more than 100 years, National Jewish Health has been committed to finding new treatments and cures for diseases. Search our clinical trials.