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(1/992) Deletion of a region that is a candidate for the difference between the deletion forms of hereditary persistence of fetal hemoglobin and deltabeta-thalassemia affects beta- but not gamma-globin gene expression.

The analysis of a number of cases of beta-globin thalassemia and hereditary persistence of fetal hemoglobin (HPFH) due to large deletions in the beta-globin locus has led to the identification of several DNA elements that have been implicated in the switch from human fetal gamma- to adult beta-globin gene expression. We have tested this hypothesis for an element that covers the minimal distance between the thalassemia and HPFH deletions and is thought to be responsible for the difference between a deletion HPFH and deltabeta-thalassemia, located 5' of the delta-globin gene. This element has been deleted from a yeast artificial chromosome (YAC) containing the complete human beta-globin locus. Analysis of this modified YAC in transgenic mice shows that early embryonic expression is unaffected, but in the fetal liver it is subject to position effects. In addition, the efficiency of transcription of the beta-globin gene is decreased, but the developmental silencing of the gamma-globin genes is unaffected by the deletion. These results show that the deleted element is involved in the activation of the beta-globin gene perhaps through the loss of a structural function required for gene activation by long-range interactions.  (+info)

(2/992) A new alkali-resistant hemoglobin alpha2J Oxford gammaF2 in a Sicilian baby girl with homozygous beta0 thalassemia.

A 10-mo-old baby girl with homozygous beta0 thalassemia and alphaJOxford, presenting the clinical picture of homozygous beta thalassemia is described. Hemoglobin electrophoresis showed three bands: the first two with the mobilities of hemoglobin Hb A2 (1%) and Hb F (69%), respectively, the third migrating a little faster than Hb A (30%). About 30% of her alpha chains were J Oxford which, bound to her gamma chains, produced a new alkali-resistant hemoglobin, alpha2 J Oxford gamma F2, which has not been described previously. Hemoglobin synthesis in vitro showed the absence of beta chain synthesis and an alpha/non-alpha ratio of 2. The patient's father was heterozygous for both the Hb J Oxford and beta0 thalassemia genes, the mother a carrier of beta0 thalassemia; four other relatives were carriers of Hb J Oxford, and one was a carrier of beta thalassemia.  (+info)

(3/992) 'Common' uncommon anemias.

Of the uncommon anemias, "common" types include the anemia of renal disease, thalassemia, myelodysplastic syndrome and the anemia of chronic disease. These conditions may be suggested by the clinical presentation, laboratory test values and peripheral blood smear, or by failure of the anemia to respond to iron supplements or nutrient replacement. The principal cause of the anemia of renal disease is a decreased production of red blood cells related to a relative deficiency of erythropoietin. When treatment is required, erythropoietin is administered, often with iron supplementation. In the anemia of chronic disease, impaired iron transport decreases red blood cell production. Treatment is predominantly directed at the underlying condition. Since iron stores are usually normal, iron administration is not beneficial. Thalassemia minor results from a congenital abnormality of hemoglobin synthesis. The disorder may masquerade as mild iron deficiency anemia, but iron therapy and transfusions are often not indicated. In the myelodysplastic syndrome, blood cell components fail to mature, and the condition may progress to acute nonlymphocytic leukemia. The rate of progression depends on the subtype of myelodysplasia, but the leukemia is usually resistant to therapy.  (+info)

(4/992) Hormonal changes in thalassaemia major.

Patients with severe thalassaemia major suffer endocrine and other abnormalities before their eventual death from iron overload due to repeated blood transfusions. The endocrine status of 31 thalassaemic patients aged 2-5 to 23 years was investigated. Exact data were available on the rate and duration of blood transfusion in all of them and in many the liver iron concentration was also known. Although the patients were euthyroid, the mean serum thyroxine level was significantly lower, and the mean thyrotrophic hormone level significantly higher, compared with the values found in normal children. Forty oral glucose tolerance tests with simultaneous insulin levels were performed in 19 children, of whom 5 developed symptomatic diabetes and one had impaired tolerance. Previous tests on all 6 patients were available and some showed raised insulin levels possibly due to insulin resistance. 2 patients had clinical hypoparathyroidism and are described. The parathyroid hormone levels determined by radioimmunoassay in 25 patients were below the mean for the age group in all and outside the reference range in 16. Nonfasting plasma calcium levels were not reduced. Puberty was delayed in some patients. Concentrations of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) measured in urine from 7 girls and 5 boys showed considerable variation. In the boys there was an overall tendency for FSH and LH excretion to be low with regard to age, but with respect to puberty rating FSH exretions were normal or low and LH normal or raised. The girls showed a tendency for LH but not FSH excretion to be raised in relation to puberty rating. The severity of the endocrine changes was related to the degree of iron loading and is discussed in relation to previous work in which the iron loading has rarely been accurately indicated nor parathyroid status assessed.  (+info)

(5/992) Birth of healthy children after preimplantation diagnosis of thalassemias.

BACKGROUND: Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) allows couples at risk of having children with thalassemia to ensure the healthy outcome of their pregnancy. METHODS: Seventeen PGD clinical cycles were initiated for Cypriot couples at risk of having children with different thalassemia mutations, including IVSI-110, IVSI-6, and IVS II-745. Unaffected embryos for transfer were selected by testing oocytes, using first and second polar body (PB) removal and nested polymerase chain reaction analysis followed by restriction digestion. RESULTS: Unaffected embryos were selected in 16 of 17 PGD cycles. Of 166 oocytes studied from these cycles, 110 were analyzed by sequential analysis of both the first and the second PB, resulting in preselection and transfer of 45 unaffected embryos. This resulted in seven pregnancies and in the birth of five healthy thalassemia-free children. The embryos predicted to have inherited the affected allele were not transferred. Analysis of these embryos confirmed the PB diagnosis. CONCLUSIONS: Sequential first and second PB testing of oocytes is reliable for PGD of thalassemia and is a feasible alternative to prenatal diagnosis in high-risk populations.  (+info)

(6/992) Further evidence of a quantitative deficiency of chain-specific globin mRNA in the thalassemia syndromes.

Formamide gel electrophoresis separates the mRNA fraction from reticulocyte polyribosomes of adult humans into two major RNA species with migratory rates identical to those of the alpha- and beta-globin mRNAs of the rabbit. That these two RNAs of human origin are the globin mRNAs is further supported by the deficiency of the presumed beta mRNA in reticulocyte polyribosomes of fetuses and premature infants, whose cells make gamma chains in preference to beta chains. The globin mRNAs of reticulocyte polyribosomes from patients with hematological disorders were estimated by scanning the stained formamide gels. In contrast to individuals with either hemolytic anemia without hemoglobinopathy or sickle cell anemia who had beta mRNA to alpha mRNA ratios of approximately one, a patient with Hb S-beta-thalassemia had a ratio of beta mRNA to alpha mRNA of 0.75 while two subjects with homozygous beta-thalassemia had severe deficiencies of beta mRNA. Conversely, a patient with alpha-thalassemia (Hb H disease) had a ratio of beta mRNA to alpha mRNA on reticulocyte polyribosomes of 6. These data provide further evidence of a quantitative deficiency of chain-specific globin mRNA in patients with the thalassemia syndromes.  (+info)

(7/992) Coexistence of two functioning T-cell repertoires in healthy ex-thalassemics bearing a persistent mixed chimerism years after bone marrow transplantation.

Bone marrow transplantation (BMT) from an HLA-identical donor is an established therapy to cure homozygous beta-thalassemia. Approximately 10% of thalassemic patients developed a persistent mixed chimerism (PMC) after BMT characterized by stable coexistence of host and donor cells in all hematopoietic compartments. Interestingly, in the erythrocytic lineage, close to normal levels of hemoglobin can be observed in the absence of complete donor engraftment. In the lymphocytic lineage, the striking feature is the coexistence of immune cells. This implies a state of tolerance or anergy, raising the issue of immunocompetence of the host. To understand the state of the T cells in PMC, repertoire analysis and functional studies were performed on cells from 3 ex-thalassemics. Repertoire analysis showed a profound skewing. This was due to an expansion of some T cells and not to a collapse of the repertoire, because phytohemagglutinin stimulation showed the presence of a complex repertoire. The immunocompetence of the chimeric immune systems was further established by showing responses to alloantigens and recall antigens in vitro. Both host and donor lymphocytes were observed in the cultures. These data suggest that the expanded T cells play a role in specific tolerance while allowing a normal immune status in these patients.  (+info)

(8/992) Relative numbers of human globin genes assayed with purified alpha and beta complementary human DNA.

Purified alpha and beta globin complementary DNAs (cDNAs) have been separated from total radioactively labeled human globin cDNA using mRNA purified from liver of a hydrops fetalis (alpha thalassemia). The beta cDNA hybridizes to the hydrops fetalis mRNA while the alpha cDNA remains single-stranded. the purified alpha and beta cDNAs were assayed for their purity by their hybridization to mRNA prepared from reticulocytes of nonthalassemia, alpha thalassemia, and beta thalassemia subjects. The results indicate that the separated cDNAs are selective in hybridization to alpha or beta globin mRNAs, respectively. The previously reported deficiency of globin mRNA in thalassemia cells has been confirmed with these purified cDNAs. The purified alpha and beta cDNAs were hybridized to cellular DNA to non-thalassemia, beta+ thalassemia, and hydrops fetalis (alpha thalassemia) DNA. The alpha cDNA hybridized to hydrops fetalis liver DNA to a much lower extent that beta cDNA, confirming the previously reported deletion of alpha globin genes in hydrops fetalis. By contrast, both the alpha and beta DNA probes hybridized to the same extent to spleen DNA from non-thalassemia and from beta+ thalassemia patients. Between two and five globin genes in non-thalassemia and beta+ thalassemia DNA hybridize to beta cDNA and one to five to alpha cDNA. These studies indicate that in beta+ thalassemia, there is no detectable deletion in beta globin genes. The genetic defect in beta+ thalassemia appears to be due to either repression of transcription of beta globin genes or abnormal processing of beta globin mRNA.  (+info)