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Am J Hematol. 1997 Jun;55(2):83-8.

Different hematological phenotypes caused by the interaction of triplicated alpha-globin genes and heterozygous beta-thalassemia.

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1
Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche ed Oncologia Umana, Università di Torino, CNR CIOS Torino, Italy.

Abstract

The pathophysiology and clinical severity of beta-thalassemia are related to the degree of alpha/non-alpha-chain imbalance. A triplicated alpha-globin gene locus can exacerbate effects of excess alpha-chains caused by a defective beta-globin gene, although this is not observed in all cases. Extensive studies on this condition are lacking. We report a group of 17 patients who are heterozygous for both the alpha alpha alpha(anti-3.7) allele and a mutation in the beta-globin gene cluster. Their clinical phenotypes varied: six had mild anemia with microcytosis and hypochromia, while 11 had more severe anemia with splenomegaly requiring splenectomy (three cases) and blood transfusions (four cases). Different phenotypes were also evident in the presence of the same beta-thalassemia mutation: in one family, two individuals had the same alpha- and beta-globin genotypes but presented with different hematologic phenotypes. In addition, the complex interaction involving a triplicated alpha-globin gene, beta39- and delta+27-thalassemia mutations is studied in a family with two siblings presenting with hemolytic anemia, normal Hb A2 and increased Hb F. Analysis of this series of patients suggests that additional genetic determinants play a role in modulating phenotypic expression in individuals with identical alpha- and beta-globin genotypes. Interaction with a triplicated alpha-gene can play a role in the clinical presentation of patients with defective beta-globin gene expression and should be considered in the diagnosis of atypical cases.

PMID:
9209003
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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