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Acta Haematol. 2005;114(3):155-9.

Apoptosis in thalassemia major reduced by a butyrate derivative.

Author information

1
Pediatric Department, School of Medicine and Al Azhar Universities, Cairo, Egypt.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:

In cases of beta-thalassemia major, apoptosis appears to be greatly enhanced in the early-stage erythroid precursors in the bone marrow leading to ineffective erythropoiesis. L-Carnitine is found to strongly reduce apoptosis in different diseases. We investigated the effect of oral L-carnitine therapy on apoptosis in thalassemia major patients.

METHODS:

Eighteen thalassemia major patients with a mean age of 12.2 +/- 6.6 years were included. Detection of apoptosis was done by photometric enzyme immunoassay (ELISA) and agarose gel electrophoresis before and after 6 months of oral therapy with L-carnitine (50 mg/kg/day).

RESULTS:

A significant decrease of apoptosis frequency in the erythroid precursors in the bone marrow of studied cases was noted after therapy. The quantity of nucleosomes measured by ELISA dropped from 3.65 +/- 1.338 to 1.60 +/- 0.65 after therapy (p = 0.005). A positive ladder pattern reflecting apoptosis on agarose gel electrophoresis was detected in 88.9% of cases prior to treatment versus 16.7% after therapy (p = 0.006). Patients also had a significant decrease in the frequency of transfusions and increase in the pre-transfusion hemoglobin levels after therapy.

CONCLUSION:

L-Carnitine seems to be a good modulator of apoptotic processes in thalassemic patients leading to a decreased frequency of programmed erythroblast death and general improvement of the disease condition.

PMID:
16227679
DOI:
10.1159/000087890
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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