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Role of alternatively spliced beta E-globin mRNA on clinical severity of beta-thalassemia/hemoglobin E disease.

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Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Institute of Sciences and Technology for Research and Development, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand.


In spite of seemingly identical genotypes, severity of beta-thalassemia/hemoglobin (Hb) E patients can vary greatly. Some may have a severe clinical disorder approaching that seen in homozygous beta-thalassemia. Since mutation in codon 26 of the beta E-globin gene can lead to an alternative splicing, Hb E acts like a mild beta(+)-thalassemia. Variation in the amount of beta E-globin mRNA may also govern the difference in severity of anemia in beta-thalassemia/Hb E patients who otherwise have the same genetic determinants. We have determined the percentage of the alternatively spliced beta E-globin mRNA by the RT-PCR technique in 14 patients and found that the amount of abnormal spliced beta E-globin mRNA in those patients with severe symptoms ranged between 2.9 to 6.1%, whereas those with milder symptoms had the values which ranged between 1.6 to 2.6%. The extent of beta E-globin mRNA cryptic splicing was better associated with clinical severity of the patients than did the patterns of the Xmn I polymorphism at position -158 of the G gamma-globin gene or levels of Hb F.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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