Hemoglobin (Hb) Koln-beta zero thalassemia compound heterozygosity was discovered in a young Greek patient. This gave us the unique opportunity for studying the functional properties of this unstable high-oxygen affinity hemoglobin variant in red cells containing almost pure Hb Koln. The red cells of the proposita exhibit morphological alterations and hematologic indices corresponding to the presence of an unstable Hb and beta thalassemia. Globin chain synthesis confirmed the association with a beta zero thalassemia gene. Oxygen-binding curves for these cells were biphasic, indicating the presence of both heme- saturated and of approximately 20% of non-cooperative Hb Koln. The major component exhibits an increased oxygen affinity, reduced cooperativeness, and normal alkaline Bohr effect. The 35-year-old proposita is active, has not been splenectomized, and has not been transfused in several years.

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