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Pathophysiologic mechanisms in acquired aplastic anemia.

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  • 1Hematology Branch, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, NIH, Bethesda, MD 20891, USA. youngns@mail.nih.gov

Abstract

Aplastic anemia, an unusual hematologic disease, is the paradigm of the human bone marrow failure syndromes. Absence of hematopoietic cells has been recognized from the characteristic morphology for a century; an immune pathophysiology has been inferred from improvement in blood counts with immunosuppressive therapy in the majority of patients. Molecular mechanisms underlying both T cell effector cells and the target marrow stem and progenitor cells are now being identified. Activated type 1 cytotoxic T cells and type 1 cytokines have been implicated in cell culture experiments; clues to the molecular basis of the aberrant immune response include cytokine gene polymorphisms and abnormalities in the regulatory pathways for gamma-interferon. For stem cell depletion, mutations in genes of the telomere repair complex are present in some patients with apparently acquired aplastic anemia. Telomerase deficiency is associated with short telomeres and a quantitative reduction in marrow progenitors and likely also a qualitative deficiency in the repair capacity of hematopoietic tissue.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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