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Int J Hematol. 2000 Feb;71(2):118-35.

Characteristic features of the genotype and phenotype of hereditary spherocytosis in the Japanese population.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Kawasaki Medical School, Kurashiki City, Japan.


Hereditary spherocytosis (HS) is the most common hemolytic anemia of congenital origin in the Japanese population. Among 844 cases of 520 kindred with congenital red cell membrane disorders studied at the Kawasaki Medical School in the last 25 years (1975-1999), 407 cases (48.2%) of 215 kindred had HS. Among the recent 60 kindred with HS, autosomal dominant (AD) transmission was proven in 19. The remaining 41 non-AD HS included 1) homozygous patients with autosomal recessive inheritance, 2) HS patients with de novo gene mutations, and 3) mild HS with AD inheritance. The extent of clinical severity in the non-AD HS cases was nearly identical to that in the AD cases. The incidence of membrane protein abnormalities in our 60 Japanese HS kindred was unique: there were lower ankyrin deficiencies (7%), moderate band 3 deficiencies (20%), and much higher protein 4.2 deficiencies (45%), with 28% of unknown etiology. The incidence of membrane protein deficiencies corresponded to that determined by gene analyses; i.e., mutations mostly in band 3 and/or in protein 4.2 genes and fewer ankyrin gene mutations. In the band 3 gene, 11 mutations pathognomonic for HS were identified (3 frameshift and 8 missense mutations). There were 5 mutations of the protein 4.2 gene (3 missense mutations, 1 nonsense mutation, and 1 splicing mutation) pathognomonic for HS. On the other hand, 2 missense mutations were detected in the ankyrin gene in this study. The genetic abnormalities in our HS patients correlated well with the phenotypic ultrastructural abnormalities of red cell membranes in situ. Ankyrin mutations (ankyrin Marburg and ankyrin Stuttgart with frameshift mutations) were associated mostly with a disrupted cytoskeletal network, and band 3 mutations (band 3 Kagoshima with frameshift mutation) typically demonstrated anomalies of intramembrane particles (IMPs). Protein 4.2 mutations (homozygotes of protein 4.2 Nippon) with complete protein 4.2 deficiency showed abnormalities of both the cytoskeletal network and IMPs.

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