Abstract

Abstract 2011

Poster Board I-1033

Introduction

The clinical severity of thalassemia intermedia depends on the degree of a/non-a-chains iimbalance. Among the molecular mechanisms responsible for thalassemia intermedia is the coinheritance of excessive a-globin gene production with a defective beta-globin gene.

Materials and Methods:

we describe an Italian family where thalassemia intermedia apparently segregates as a dominant form but it tourned out to be due to the coinheritance of a beta-globin mutation and a duplication of the alpha-globin gene cluster. The father (aged 51yrs) showed a well tolerated severe chronic hemolytic anemia (Hb 7.5-8.5 g/dL) not transfusion dependent, jaundice, splenomegaly and leg ulcers:The mother (aged 46yrs) has a completely normal hematological and hemoglobin pattern. Two sons (19 and 14 yrs) showed more severe clinical manifestations than the father. They underwent splenectomy at 12 and 13 years respectively without any benefit and afterwards they become transfusion dependent.

Results:

The hemoglobin analysis revealed that the father and the sons were heterozygotes for the beta mutation IVSI-110 G>A. MLPA analysis of the alpha-globin gene cluster disclosed a full duplication of the alpha-globin locus, spanning a 175 kb from the telomere to the 3'HVR downstream of the alpha-globin gene and including the upstream regulatory element HS-40. This rearrangement increases the number of the active alpha-globin genes in cis from 2 to 4.Surprisengly it was found in heterozygosis in both parents and in homozygosis in both sons. The hematological and molecular data of the family are reported in the table.

In the father the 6 alpha-globin genes led to increased synthesis of alpha-chains; the coinheritance with a beta-thalassemia mutation causes a moderate/severe thalassemia intermedia phenotype. The presence of 8 alpha-globin genes in the sons raises further the degree of globin-chains imbalance and exacerbates the clinical phenotype. It is important to note that splenectomy worsened the clinical course.in the 2 homozygotes for the alpha duplication.

Conclusions:

Based also on previous experience we suggest that splenectomy in patients with a real excess of alphaa chain production is unconvenient since a large amount of circulating red cells with precipitated alpha chains may be responsible for increased hemolysis as well as increased risk of thrombosis This family moreover raises concerns regarding genetic counselling, suggesting that whenever one of the partner is affected by TI it is advisable a complete molecular screening of the couple in order to exclude any possible alpha gene defects interaction

 Age/gender Hb g/dL RBC X1012/L MCV fL MCH pg HbA2 % HbF % Retics % Spleen Transfusion Chelation a genes β genes 
Mother 46/F 12.8 4.87 81.7 26.3 2.5 0.9 1.29 normal no no aa,aa/aa βNN 
Father 51/M 8.5 4.47 64.0 19.0 5.0 3.7 2.35 20 cm no no aa,aa/aa βTN 
Son 19/M 6.0 3.80 60.0 16.5 4.3 7.5 7.57 splenectomy yes yes aa,aa/aa,aa βTN 
Son 14/F 5.9 3.69 59.9 16.0 4.0 7.7 10.61 splenectomy yes yes aa,aa/aa,aa βTN 
 Age/gender Hb g/dL RBC X1012/L MCV fL MCH pg HbA2 % HbF % Retics % Spleen Transfusion Chelation a genes β genes 
Mother 46/F 12.8 4.87 81.7 26.3 2.5 0.9 1.29 normal no no aa,aa/aa βNN 
Father 51/M 8.5 4.47 64.0 19.0 5.0 3.7 2.35 20 cm no no aa,aa/aa βTN 
Son 19/M 6.0 3.80 60.0 16.5 4.3 7.5 7.57 splenectomy yes yes aa,aa/aa,aa βTN 
Son 14/F 5.9 3.69 59.9 16.0 4.0 7.7 10.61 splenectomy yes yes aa,aa/aa,aa βTN 
Disclosures:

No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

Author notes

*

Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.