Amyloidosis is also a disorder of abnormal plasma cells in the bone marrow.
Antibodies are comprised of protein chains, two short light chains and two longer heavy chains. In amyloidosis, the abnormal plasma cells make too many light chains that build up in the tissue and form an abnormal protein, called an amyloid.
An amyloid buildup can cause organs throughout the body to enlarge, affecting the way they work. The heart, kidneys, liver, spleen, nervous system, and digestive tract may all be affected by an amyloid buildup.
There are several types of amyloidosis, some of which are hereditary, and some of which are caused by other factors, such as inflammatory diseases. Each type can impact specific organs or a combination of organs differently.
Light-chain (AL) amyloidosis: affects the kidneys, spleen, heart, and other organs. AL begins in the plasma cells within the bone marrow and create damaged proteins that can gather in other tissues causing damage to vital organs. Individuals with multiple myeloma or other bone marrow illness are more likely to have AL amyloidosis.
AA amyloidosis: most commonly affects the kidneys and is caused by fragments of the amyloid A protein. This form of amyloidosis can complicate inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBS).
Transthyretin amyloidosis (ATTR): a type of amyloidosis that can be inherited from a family member. The protein transthyretin is mutates causing amyloid deposits in the liver, impacting that area of the body most prominently.
Dialysis-related amyloidosis (DRA): this form of amyloidosis is caused by deposits of beta-2 microglobulin that builds up in the bones, joints, or tendons. This type is more common in older adults who have been on dialysis for more than 5 years.