The Belgrade laboratory rat (b/b rat) has hereditary, hypochromic, microcytic anemia with a variety of red cell abnormalities. Although this anemic syndrome has been recently ascribed to the defective delivery of iron to the developing red cell, the basic hematopoietic defect is still unknown. In this article we present evidence that the b/b rat has an additional hematologic defect. We have found that the megakaryocyte number in the marrow of the b/b rat is decreased to one half that of the normal rat, but the maturation rate of recognizable megakaryocytes is accelerated and the size is increased. The platelet count is moderately reduced. These findings indicate that megakaryocytopoiesis in the anemic b/b rat is abnormal and suggest that the genetic defect may involve the progenitors of the megakaryocyte cell lineage. Alternatively, the megakaryocytic abnormalities may be secondary to the severe anemia.

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