Objective: Immunoglobulin G4-related disease (IgG4-RD) is a recently recognized heterogeneous, subacute, and usually silent autoimmune disease involving many organs with protean manifestations. However, high IgG4 in serum is not necessarily indicating an IgG4-RD. The aims of this study were to investigate the clinical relevance of high serum IgG4 level in IgG4-RD or non IgG4-RD patients, and to see if IgG4-RD in Taiwan differs from that in other parts of the world. Methods: Eight hundred forty-five patients with high IgG4 were retrospectively reviewed from January 2002 to May 2020 in Taipei Veteran General Hospital. Two hundred sixty-seven patients fulfilled IgG4-RD criteria and were categorized into pancreato-hepato-biliary disease, retroperitoneal fibrosis and/or aortitis, head/neck-limited disease, classic Mikulicz syndrome with systemic involvement, CNS-limited disease, sclerosing vasculitis, skin-limited disease, and sensorineural hearing disease. These manifestations were correlated to smoking, atopy, hyper-IgE/eosinophilia, aging, malignancies, and hypocomplementemia. Five hundred seventy-eight patients were not fulfilling the criteria but were also analyzed for the prevalence of allergy, malignancy, connective tissue diseases, lung diseases, and infections. Results: In IgG4-RD patients, 124 (46.4%) smoked. Top 4 clinical subtypes included Mikulicz syndrome with systemic involvement (33.3%), pancreato-hepatobiliary disease (31.4%), head/neck disease (19.4%), and retroperitoneal fibrosis/aortitis (12.7%). Top 4 co-morbid conditions included high serum IgE/eosinophilia (46.2%), hypocomplementemia (34%), malignancies (13.4%), and allergy (13.4%). Pancreato-biliary disease was associated with high IgE/eosinophilia (r2 = 0.380, P = 0.025) and malignancy (r2 = 0.211, P = 0.027), Miculicz syndrome with allergy (r2 = 0.396, P < 0.01) and high IgE/eosinophil (r2 = 0.396, P < 0.01), CNS diseases (r2 = 0.973, P = 0.035) and sclerosing vasculitis (r2 = 1, P < 0.01) with advanced age respectively, with the latter being also related to atopy and high IgE/eosinophilia (r2 = 1, p < 0.01). Conclusion: Smoking may precipitate IgG4-RD. IgG4-RD with pancreato-hepatobiliary disease is closely related to allergy and neoplasm, and those with Mikulicz syndrome may result from atopy. Elderly IgG4-RD patients tend to develop CNS pathology parallel to advancing of age. The disease may probably be originated from an unknown mechanism that may sporadically evolve into malignancies.
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