Abstract

Hemoglobin Lufkin is a rare and mildly unstable hemoglobin variant with increased oxygen affinity. Since 1977, two cases of hemoglobin Lufkin trait and one hemoglobin Lufkin/hemoglobin S have been described. This report is the first case of hemoglobin Lufkin/beta-zero thalassemia in a 10 year-old Caucasian male of Irish/Italian/German background. The patient presented with jaundice, splenomegaly and thalassemia major facies. On blood smear examination, RBC morphology showed hypochromia, microcytosis, many target cells, some spherocytes and basophilic stippling of RBC’s. On both alkaline hemoglobin (Hb) electrophoresis and isoelectric focusing (IEF) there was an absence of Hb A with a predominant band slightly anodal to the Hb A position. Hb A2 (4.8%)and Hb F (5.3%) were elevated as measured by high performance liquid chromatography. The heat unstable Hb test was abnormal. DNA sequencing of the beta globin gene confirmed a GCC to GAC mutation at codon 29 (gly to asp) consistent with Hb Lufkin. DNA sequence analysis also revealed a beta-zero thalassemia mutation, IVS-1-1, (G to A). The mother’s sample also showed the same beta-thalassemia mutation. Neither hemoglobin Lufkin nor beta-thalassemia were identified in the father; further studies are being done.

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