A new alkali-resistant hemoglobin alpha2J Oxford gammaF2 in a Sicilian baby girl with homozygous beta0 thalassemia. (1/98)

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)

Antibodies to human herpes virus type 8 (HHV8) in general population and in individuals at risk for sexually transmitted diseases in Western Sicily. (2/98)

BACKGROUND: Human herpes virus 8 (HHV8) appears to be the primary aetiologic agent of Kaposi sarcoma (KS). To study the distribution of HHV8, a seroepidemiological study was carried out in western Sicily, where a high incidence rate of classical KS is well documented. METHODS: A total of 970 sera of healthy human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) negative individuals of general population (1-70 years old) and 742 sera of individuals in different risk groups for HIV infection were evaluated by means of an indirect immunofluorescence assay able to detect antibodies to lytic and latent HHV8 antigens. RESULTS: Crude seroprevalence to HHV8 antigens was 11.5% in the general population, and it increased significantly with age from 6% under age 16 to 22% after age 50. Significantly higher HHV8 seroprevalence rates were detected among HIV positive and negative homosexual men (62% and 22%, respectively), men who had sex with prostitutes (40% and 29%, respectively); female prostitutes (42% and 30%, respectively), and clients at a sexually transmitted disease clinic (male: 60% and 33%, respectively, female: 63% and 43%, respectively). In contrast, heterosexual intravenous drug users had seroprevalence rates comparable to those found in the general population. CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that HHV8 infection is widespread in Western Sicily. The high seroprevalence in individuals with high risk sexual activity point to the role of sexual behaviour in the transmission of the infection in adults, whereas the detection of antibodies in younger population (under 16 years old) is suggestive of a non-sexual route of transmission, probably occurring during childhood by close personal contact.  (+info)

Evidence for a founder effect in Sicilian patients with glycogen storage disease type II. (3/98)

Glycogen storage disease type II (GSD II) is an autosomal recessive inherited disorder due to the deficiency of the enzyme acid alpha-glucosidase, which causes an accumulation of glycogen in lysosomes. The deletion of exon 18 (delta 18) is a frequent mutation associated with a severe phenotype. We analyzed 25 Italian patients, 5 of whom were found to be delta 18 carriers. All these 5 patients came from Catania, a town in Sicily. We report on the analysis of 5 intragenic single-point polymorphic markers in the delta 18 patients and on the subsequent characterization of a delta 18-associated haplotype. The frequency of this haplotype in GSD II patients and normal individuals was 1 and 0.196, respectively (chi(2) = 20.9; p < 0.001). The high frequency of the delta 18 allele in this Italian subpopulation is likely to be due to a founder effect.  (+info)

Different geographic origins of Hb Constant Spring [alpha(2) codon 142 TAA-->CAA]. (4/98)

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The occurrence of Hb CS is usually limited to the geographic area which includes Southern China and South East Asia. In 1968 Hb CS was also found to occur in the Mediterranean area where it was originally described as Hb Athens. We investigated the independent origin of these termination codon mutations of the alpha 2-globin gene by determining the alpha-cluster haplotype and comparing the hematologic data from Hb CS-Hb H patients and their family members. DESIGN AND METHODS: We studied one Hb CS-Hb H patient of Greek origin and a Sicilian family in which one individual was affected by Hb CS-Hb H. The haplotype of the Hb CS allele was determined and compared to the haplotype of an Hb CS-Hb H individual of Chinese origin. RESULTS: The haplotype found for the Greek and Sicilian Hb CS was the same but differed significantly from the Asiatic Hb CS mutation. INTERPRETATION AND CONCLUSIONS: The Hb CS mutation found in both Mediterranean patients arose independently in the Mediterranean area. The difference in clinical manifestation of the Hb CS-Hb H disease in both patients is less common but consistent with similar variation in the clinical expression of analogous Hb Icaria-Hb H disease patients.  (+info)

Genetic diversity of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in Sicily based on spoligotyping and variable number of tandem DNA repeats and comparison with a spoligotyping database for population-based analysis. (5/98)

In a previous study, we proposed to associate spoligotyping and typing with the variable number of tandem DNA repeats (VNTR) as an alternative strategy to IS6110-restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) for molecular epidemiological studies on tuberculosis. The aim of the present study was to further evaluate this PCR-based typing strategy and to describe the population structure of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in another insular setting, Sicily. A collection of 106 DNA samples from M. tuberculosis patient isolates was characterized by spoligotyping and VNTR typing. All isolates were independently genotyped by the standard IS6110-RFLP method, and clustering results between the three methods were compared. The totals for the clustered isolates were, respectively, 15, 60, and 82% by IS6110-RFLP, spoligotyping, and VNTR typing. The most frequent spoligotype included type 42 that missed spacers 21 to 24 and spacers 33 to 36 and derived types 33, 213, and 273 that, together represented as much as 26% of all isolates, whereas the Haarlem clade of strains (types 47 and 50, VNTR allele 32333) accounted for 9% of the total strains. The combination of spoligotyping and VNTR typing results reduced the number of clusters to 43% but remained superior to the level of IS6110-RFLP clustering (ca. 15%). All but one IS6110-defined cluster were identified by the combination of spoligotyping and VNTR clustering results, whereas 9 of 15 spoligotyping-defined clusters could be further subdivided by IS6110-RFLP. Reinterpretation of previous IS6110-RFLP results in the light of spoligotyping-VNTR typing results allowed us to detect an additional cluster that was previously missed. Although less discriminative than IS6110-RFLP, our results suggest that the use of the combination of spoligotyping and VNTR typing is a good screening strategy for detecting epidemiological links for the study of tuberculosis epidemiology at the molecular level.  (+info)

Association between the MHC class I gene HFE polymorphisms and longevity: a study in Sicilian population. (6/98)

Classes I and II human leukocyte antigens (HLA) genes encode highly polymorphic heterodimeric glycoproteins involved in the control of immune responses. The HLA class I gene HFE seemingly no longer participates in immunity because it has lost its ability to bind peptides and it has acquired the ability to form complex with the receptor for iron-binding transferrin by regulating iron uptake by intestinal cells. Thus, it indirectly regulates immune responses too, because iron availability plays a role in specific and non-specific immune responses. The distribution of HFE polymorphisms in Sicilian centenarians and nonagenarians was studied to evaluate if HFE alleles might be represented differently in people selected for longevity. DNA samples were obtained from 106 young controls (age range from 22 to 55 years; 40 men and 66 women) and 35 elderly subjects (age range from 91 to 105 years; seven men and 28 women). Samples were typed for C282Y, H63D and S65C alleles using polymerase chain reaction and sequence specific primers. Among the young individuals, none was heterozygous for the C282Y or for S65C mutation. Twenty-six were heterozygous for H63D mutation. Among the elderly subjects, 11 were heterozygous for the C282Y mutation or for H63D mutation. None was heterozygous for the S65C mutation. No compound heterozygous individuals (C282Y/H63D) were found. A highly significant difference was observed in frequencies of C282Y alleles between the young and the elderly subjects on the whole. By analysing polymorphisms according to gender, heterozygous subjects for C282Y were found both in old men and in old women, but by comparing the allele frequencies to those of young people significance was attained only in women. Concerning H63D polymorphisms, no significant differences were observed, between old and young people, both in men and in women. Possession of C282Y allele, known to be associated with an increase of iron uptake, significantly increases women possibility to reach longevity. Thus, present data adds another piece of evidence to the complex puzzle of genetic and environmental factors involved in control of lifespan expectancy in humans.  (+info)

An investigation of the seasonal pattern of mannitol content in deciduous and evergreen species of the oleaceae growing in northern Sicily. (7/98)

In several species of the Oleaceae, mannitol, already present at considerable levels, accumulates in response to stress. This family comprises both deciduous and evergreen species, and we investigated the role of mannitol in deciduous malacophyll and evergreen sclerophyll species growing under the same conditions in the field. The relationship between mannitol content and changes in rainfall or temperature was also studied. The mannitol content of leaves of Fraxinus ornus L., F. angustifolia Vahl., Olea europaea L. and Phillyrea media L. was determined by gas chromatography. Leaf samples were collected once a month for 1 year. In the two ash species, the seasonal pattern of mannitol content appeared the same: a gradual increase in spring, peaking in summer, followed by a gradual decrease. The mannitol content was similar in both species, ranging between 260 and 720 micromol g(-1) d. wt. The seasonal pattern of mannitol content in Olea and Phillyrea was similar for both species, but unlike that of Fraxinus did not show a summer peak. Rainfall was negatively correlated with the seasonal increase of mannitol content in ash. Mannitol content increased gradually during drought, reaching a maximum value at the end of the dry season. Temperature did not have a direct influence on mannitol content. In Olea and Phillyrea, variations in mannitol content were poorly correlated with rainfall or temperature, indicating that mannitol does not have a primary role in the response of these species to the hot, dry summer conditions.  (+info)

The significance of serum soluble IL-2 receptor as a marker for active visceral leishmaniasis in Sicilian patients. (8/98)

Sera from nine Sicilian patients with confirmed visceral leishmaniasis (Leishmania donovani infantum; VL), at the moment of the diagnosis, during the course of the disease and after clinical recovery, were analysed for the concentration of soluble IL-2 receptor (sIL-2R). The results show that sIL-2R is a marker of disease activity, since it is in high concentration at the beginning of infection and returns to the normal range following successful chemotherapy. At the same time of serum analysis for sIL-2R, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of VL patients were stimulated with phytohaemagglutinin (PHA) or antigen and supernatant tested for IL-2 and interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) production. Data demonstrate that there is an inverse relation between concentration of IL-2 and IFN-gamma in the supernatants and sIL-2R secretion in the sera.  (+info)