Thalassemias are the most common genetic disorder on a wordwide basis. β-thalassemia is a severe hemolytic anemia which results from genetic defects in the synthesis of the hemoglobin β-chain. Various endocrine abnormalities have been described in patients with thalassemia major. Endocrine disturbances have also been observed in patients with thalassemia intermedia (TI). In this study endocrine functions were investigated in TI and here the frequency of different abnormalities is reported. Ninety-three patients (40 males, 53 females) with thalassemia intermedia, 11-40 years old (mean 19.4 yr) were studied. Medical history was obtained and a complete physical examination was done for each patient. The age, sex, weight, height and serum ferritin levels were recorded using a questionnaire. Growth Hormone (GH) secretion, thyrotropin (TSH), T4, parathyroid hormone (PTH) and cortisole levels were determined in these patients. The mean ± Standard Deviation (SD) serum ferritin level was 452.4 ± 312.60 μg/L. Mean ± SD hemoglobin concentration was 9 ± 1 g/dl. Short stature was present in 46% of patients. Growth hormone deficiency was one of the most frequent (31%) endocrine abnormalities in these patients. Primary hypothyroidism was observed in 21.5% of patients. Hypoparathyroidism was found in one patient (1%). Failure of puberty was present in 2% of patients, secondary ammenorrhea was observed in 6.4% of patients and diabetes mellitus (DM) in 2% of patients. Conclusion: Growth retardation and GH deficiency should be considered as common finding in TI. Therefore endocrine evaluation of these patients is suggested to prevent complications and to improve the overall quality of life.
thalassemia intermedia; endocrinopathies
Background: Thalassemia is the most common hereditary anemia and beta thalassemia major is its most severe form. Endocrine abnormalities in thalassemia major are common disturbing complications that need prompt management. The purpose of this study was to determine the endocrine disorders and bone mineral density in patients with major -thalassemia in .
Methods: In this cross- sectional study, 77 patients with - thalassemia major (15-36 years old) were enrolled. Physical examination, laboratory tests, bone radiography and bone density measurements were performed. Then, the data were analyzed.
Results: Forty patients were males. The mean age was 21.26±4.53 years old. The mean BMI was 20.15±2.79 kg/m2. Impaired puberty, short stature, hypothyroidism, diabetes mellitus, IGT, hypoparathyroidism, vitamin D deficiency and vitamin D insufficiency were observed in 46.8%, 33.8%, 18.2%, 16.9%, 13%, 7.8%, 45.5% and 24.7% of patients, respectively. Nearly 80% of patients had low bone mineral density. Bone mineral density was significantly associated with hypogonadism (p=0.001), short stature (p=0.026), hypoparathyroidism (p=0.031), hypothyroidism (p=0.048), diabetes mellitus (p=0.002) and vitamin D deficiency (p<0.001).
Conclusion: Impaired puberty and short stature were the most common endocrine complications in our population. Low bone density (osteopenia, osteoporosis) is significantly different in β-thalassemic patients with and without endocrine complications.
Major β- thalassemia; Bone mineral density; Osteopenia; Osteoporosis; Puberty
Background: One of the most common endocrine problems in major beta-thalassemia is hypothyroidism (HT). The aim of this study was to evaluate thyroid function status in major β-thalassemia patients older than 10 years old.
Methods: This cross sectional study was carried out on thalassemia major patients registered on Thalassemia Center of Amirkola Children Hospital in Babol. A questionnaire was filled out by the patients to evaluate the demographic information, quality of their last transfusions and chelation therapy. Growth parameters were evaluated. We assessed serum T4, TSH, T3RU and FTI in all patients and those with hypothyroidism, anti-thyroglobulin and anti-thyroid proxidase antibodies were checked
Results: One hundred-thirty patients (56 males and 74 females) were enrolled in this study. The mean age was 20.95±7.8 years. Short stature was seen in 41(31.3%) patients. In 53(40.8%) patients, weight was under normal range. HT was found in 19 patients (14.6%); 2 primary overt HT, 3 secondary HT and 14 subclinical HT were detected. No patient with HT had significant serum level of anti-thyroid antibodies. Correlation between HT and serum ferritin level was not significant (p=0.584) but it was significant for HT and short statures (p=0.002), also regular transfusion and chelation therapy were correlated with ferritin level.
Conclusion: High prevalence of HT among thalassemic patients signifies the importance of regular screening for evaluation of endocrine function in these patients; especially when short stature is present.
Major thalassemia; Hypothyroidism; Serum ferritin
The β-Thalassemia syndromes are the most common hereditary chronic hemolytic anemia due to impaired globin chain synthesis. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) plays several roles in angiogenesis which is a crucial process in the pathogenesis of several inflammatory, autoimmune and malignant diseases. Endothelial damage and inflammation make a significant contribution to the pathophysiology of β-thalassemia.
: The aim of the study was to assess serum VEGF level in children with beta-thalassemia major as a marker of angiogenesis.
A total of 50 children entered the study, 40 patients with thalassemia major and 10 healthy controls. We used enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for quantitative evaluation of VEGF.
VEGF level was significantly higher in patients with β-thalassemia major than healthy controls (p=0.001). VEGF level was also higher in splenectomised thalassemic patients than non splenectomised ones (p=0.001). There were a positive correlation between VEGF and chelation starting age (p=0.008), and a negative correlation between VEGF and frequency of blood transfusion (p=0.002).
Thalassemia patients, especially splenectomized, have elevated serum levels of VEGF. Early chelation and regular blood transfusion help to decrease serum VEGF and the risk of angiogenesis.
Adults with β thalassemia major frequently have low BMD, fractures, and bone pain. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of low BMD, fractures, and bone pain in all thalassemia syndromes in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, associations of BMD with fractures and bone pain, and etiology of bone disease in thalassemia. Patients of all thalassemia syndromes in the Thalassemia Clinical Research Network, ≥6 yr of age, with no preexisting medical condition affecting bone mass or requiring steroids, participated. We measured spine and femur BMD and whole body BMC by DXA and assessed vertebral abnormalities by morphometric X-ray absorptiometry (MXA). Medical history by interview and review of medical records, physical examinations, and blood and urine collections were performed. Three hundred sixty-one subjects, 49% male, with a mean age of 23.2 yr (range, 6.1–75 yr), were studied. Spine and femur BMD Z-scores < −2 occurred in 46% and 25% of participants, respectively. Greater age, lower weight, hypogonadism, and increased bone turnover were strong independent predictors of low bone mass regardless of thalassemia syndrome. Peak bone mass was suboptimal. Thirty-six percent of patients had a history of fractures, and 34% reported bone pain. BMD was negatively associated with fractures but not with bone pain. Nine percent of participants had uniformly decreased height of several vertebrae by MXA, which was associated with the use of iron chelator deferoxamine before 6 yr of age. In patients with thalassemia, low BMD and fractures occur frequently and independently of the particular syndrome. Peak bone mass is suboptimal. Low BMD is associated with hypogonadism, increased bone turnover, and an increased risk for fractures.
DXA; BMD; fractures; vertebral morphometry; thalassemia
Few literatures have elaborated on the clinical characteristics of children with thalassemia from low-prevalence areas. A retrospective analysis was conducted on children genetically confirmed with thalassemia at Seoul National University Children's Hospital in Korea. Nine children (1α thalassemia trait, 6β thalassemia minor, 2β thalassemia intermedia) were diagnosed with thalassemia at median age of 4.3 yr old with median hemoglobin of 9.7 g/dL. Seven (78%) children were incidentally found to be anemic and only 2 with β thalassemia intermedia had presenting symptoms. Five children (56%) were initially misdiagnosed with iron deficiency anemia. Despite the comorbidities due to α thalassemia mental retardation syndrome, the child with α thalassemia trait had mild hematologic profile. Children with β thalassemia intermedia had the worst phenotypes due to dominantly inherited mutations. None of the children was transfusion dependent and most of them had no complications associated with thalassemia. Only 1 child (11%) with codon 60 (T→A) mutation of the HBB gene needed red blood cell transfusions. He also had splenomegaly, cholelithiasis, and calvarial vault thickening. Pediatricians in Korea must acknowledge thalassemia as a possible diagnosis in children with microcytic hypochromic hemolytic anemia. High level of suspicion will allow timely diagnosis and managements.
α-Thalassemia; β-Thalassemia; Genotype; Phenotype; Child; Korea
β-thalassemia is an inherited disorder due to mutations found in the β-globin gene, leading to anemia and requiring sporadic or chronic blood transfusions for survival. Without proper chelation, β-thalassemia results in iron overload. Ineffective erythropoiesis can lead to iron overload even in untransfused patients who are affected by β-thalassemia intermedia. Better understanding of the molecular biologic aspects of this disorder has led to improvements in population screening and prenatal diagnosis, which, in turn, have led to dramatic reductions in the number of children born with β-thalassemia major in the Mediterranean littoral. However, as a consequence of decreases in neonatal and childhood mortality in other geographical areas, β-thalassemia has become a worldwide clinical problem. A number of unsolved pathophysiological issues remain, such as ineffective erythropoieis, abnormal iron absorption, oxidative stress, splenomegaly and thrombosis. In the last few years, novel studies have the potential to introduce new therapeutic approaches that might reduce these problems and limit the need for blood transfusion.
anemia; β-thalassemia; erythropoietin; ferroportin; fetal hemoglobin; gene transfer; hepcidin; ineffective erythropoiesis; iron metabolism; Jak2; lentiviral vector; radicals; reactive oxygen species
Cation exchange-high performance liquid chromatography (CE-HPLC) is increasingly being used as a first line of investigation for hemoglobinopathies and thalassemias. Together with a complete blood count, the CE-HPLC is effective in categorizing hemoglobinopathies as traits, homozygous disorders and compound heterozygous disorders. We carried out a one year study in Apollo Hospitals, Chennai (Tamil Nadu, South India) during which 543 abnormal chromatogram patterns were seen. The commonest disorder we encountered was β-thalassemia trait (37.9%), followed by HbE trait (23.2%), homozygous HbE disease (18.9%), HbS trait (5.3%), HbE β-thalassemia (4.6%), HbS β-thalassemia (2.5%), β-thalassemia major (2.3%), HbH (1.6%), homozygous HbS (1.4%), HbD trait (0.7%). The average value of HbA2 in β-thalassemia minor was 5.4%. β-thalassemia major had an average HbF of 88% and in HbH the mean A2 was 1.4%. Among the HbE disorders the HbA2 + HbE was 30.1% in the heterozygous state, 90.8% in the homozygous state and 54.8% in HbE β-thalassemia. In the sickle cell disorders, HbS varied from 30.9% in the trait to 79.9% in the homozygous state to 65.6% in HbS β-thalassemia.
The 1-year THALASSA study enrolled 166 patients with various non-transfusion-dependent thalassemia (NTDT) syndromes, degrees of iron burden and patient characteristics, and demonstrated the overall efficacy and safety of deferasirox in reducing liver iron concentration (LIC) in these patients. Here, reduction in LIC with deferasirox 5 and 10 mg/kg/day starting dose groups is shown to be consistent across the following patient subgroups—baseline LIC/serum ferritin, age, gender, race, splenectomy (yes/no), and underlying NTDT syndrome (β-thalassemia intermedia, HbE/β-thalassemia or α-thalassemia). These analyses also evaluated deferasirox dosing strategies for patients with NTDT. Greater reductions in LIC were achieved in patients dose-escalated at Week 24 from deferasirox 10 mg/kg/day starting dose to 20 mg/kg/day. Patients who received an average actual dose of deferasirox >12.5–≤17.5 mg/kg/day achieved a greater LIC decrease compared with the ≥7.5–≤12.5 mg/kg/day and >0–<7.5 mg/kg/day subgroups, demonstrating a dose–response efficacy. LIC reduction across patient subgroups was generally consistent with the primary efficacy analysis with a similar safety profile. Am. J. Hematol. 88:503–506, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Hemoglobin E beta-thalassemia (β-thalassemia/Hb E) has a variable severity, and the cost of treatment has not been well studied. The aim of this study was to analyze the societal cost of caring for children with β-thalassemias in Thailand. The study was designed as a prevalence-based cost-of-illness analysis in a societal perspective. Medical records from three public hospitals of children aged 2-18 years with β-thalassemia/Hb E and homozygous β-thalassemia were reviewed for direct medical cost determination. For direct non-medical cost and indirect cost, a family member was interviewed.
It was found that 201 patients with β-thalassemia/Hb E (91%) and homozygous β-thalassemia (9%) were recruited for this study. Ninety-two (46%) were severe thalassemia and 109 (54%) were mild to moderate severity. The annual average cost of treatment was US$950; 59% was direct medical cost, 17% direct non-medical cost, and 24% indirect cost. The costs were differentiated by some potential predictors. Significant predictor variables were: hospital, health insurance scheme, blood transfusion pattern, and iron chelation drug use.
The average annual cost per patient was calculated, and the cost model was estimated. These would be applied for national planning, economic evaluation of treatment and prevention interventions, and budget impact analysis.
The current management of thalassemia includes regular transfusion programs and chelation therapy. It is important that physicians be aware that endocrine abnormalities frequently develop mainly in those patients with significant iron overload due to poor compliance to treatment, particularly after the age of 10 years. Since the quality of life of thalassemia patients is a fundamental aim, it is vital to monitor carefully their growth and pubertal development in order to detect abnormalities and to initiate appropriate and early treatment. Abnormalities should be identified and treatment initiated in consultation with a pediatric or an adult endocrinologist and managed accordingly. Appropriate management shall put in consideration many factors such as age, severity of iron overload, presence of chronic liver disease, thrombophilia status, and the presence of psychological problems. All these issues must be discussed by the physician in charge of the patient's care, the endocrinologist and the patient himself. Because any progress in research in the field of early diagnosis and management of growth disorders and endocrine complications in thalassemia should be passed on to and applied adequately to all those suffering from the disease, on the 8 May 2009 in Ferrara, the International Network on Endocrine Complications in Thalassemia (I-CET) was founded in order to transmit the latest information on these disorders to the treating physicians. The I-CET position statement outlined in this document applies to patients with transfusion-dependent thalassemia major to help physicians to anticipate, diagnose, and manage these complications properly.
Endocrine complications; growth; guidelines; iron overload; thalassemia; treatment
In Italian and Chinese patients with the α-thalassemia syndromes the production of α-chain of normal hemoglobin is decreased relative to that of β-chain in reticulocytes. In this study the relative rates of α- and β-chain synthesis were determined in members of three Negro families with α-thalassemia. Two of the families had members with hemoglobin H disease and α-thalassemia trait, while the mother of several children with α-thalassemia trait in the third family was doubly heterozygous for α-thalassemia and an α-chain mutant. The α/β ratios of globin synthesis in the patients with hemoglobin H disease and α-thalassemia trait indicated less severe biochemical defects in the peripheral blood than those previously determined in Italian and Chinese patients. In the third family, there was a heterogeneity of expression of the gene for α-thalassemia, including patients with normal red cell indices and synthesis ratios. These findings differ from those previously described in patients with α-thalassemia from other racial groups. Hydrops fetalis due to homozygous α-thalassemia may not occur in the Negro because of the relatively mild thalassemic defect.
Advances in the management of thalassemia have resulted in increased life expectancy and new challenges. We conducted the first survey of education and employment status of people with thalassemia in North America.
A total of 633 patients (349 adults and 284 school age children) enrolled in the Thalassemia Clinical Research Network (TCRN) registry in Canada and the US were included in the data analysis. Predictors considered for analysis were age, gender, race/ethnicity, site of treatment (Canada vs. United States), transfusion and chelation status, serum ferritin, and clinical complications.
Seventy percent of adults were employed of which 67 percent reported working full-time. Sixty percent had a college degree and 14% had achieved some post college education. Eighty-two percent of school age children were at expected grade level. In a multivariate analysis for adults, Whites (OR=2.76, 95% CI: 1.50-5.06) were more likely to be employed compared to Asians. Higher education in adults was associated with older age (OR=1.67, 95% CI: 1.29-2.15), female gender (OR=2.08, 95% CI: 1.32-3.23) and absence of lung disease (OR=14.3, 95% CI: 2.04-100). Younger children (OR=5.7 for 10 year increments, 95% CI: 2.0 – 16.7) and Canadian patients (OR=5.6, 95% CI: 1.5-20) were more likely to be at the expected education level. Neither transfusion nor chelation was associated with lower employment or educational achievement.
Individuals with thalassemia in North America can achieve higher education; however, full-time employment remains a problem. Transfusion and chelation do not affect employment or education status of this patient population.
Employment; Education; Thalassemia
Thalassemia is a common disorder worldwide with a predominant incidence in Mediterranean countries, North Africa, the Middle East, India, Central Asia, and Southeast Asia. Whilst substantial progress has been made towards the improvement of Health related quality of life (HRQoL) in western countries, scarce evidence-based data exists on HRQol of thalassemia children and adolescents living in developing countries.
We studied 60 thalassemia children from Middle Eastern countries with a median age of 10 years (range 5 to 17 years). HRQoL was assessed with the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory (PedsQL) 4.0. The Questionnaire was completed at baseline by all patients and their parents. The agreement between child-self and parent-proxy HRQoL reports and the relationship between HRQoL profiles and socio-demographic and clinical factors were investigated.
The scores of parents were generally lower than those of their children for Emotional Functioning (mean 75 vs 85; p = 0.002), Psychosocial Health Summary (mean 70.3 vs 79.1; p = 0.015) and the Total Summary Score (mean 74.3 vs 77.7 p = 0.047). HRQoL was not associated with ferritin levels, hepatomegaly or frequency of transfusions or iron chelation therapy. Multivariate analysis showed that a delayed start of iron chelation had a negative impact on total PedsQL scores of both children (p = 0.046) and their parents (p = 0.007).
The PedsQL 4.0 is a useful tool for the measurement of HRQoL in pediatric thalassemia patients. This study shows that delayed start of iron chelation has a negative impact on children’s HRQoL.
Quality of life; Thalassemia; PEDsQL 4.0
Beta-thalassemias are a group of hereditary blood disorders characterized by anomalies in the synthesis of the beta chains of hemoglobin resulting in variable phenotypes ranging from severe anemia to clinically asymptomatic individuals. The total annual incidence of symptomatic individuals is estimated at 1 in 100,000 throughout the world and 1 in 10,000 people in the European Union. Three main forms have been described: thalassemia major, thalassemia intermedia and thalassemia minor. Individuals with thalassemia major usually present within the first two years of life with severe anemia, requiring regular red blood cell (RBC) transfusions. Findings in untreated or poorly transfused individuals with thalassemia major, as seen in some developing countries, are growth retardation, pallor, jaundice, poor musculature, hepatosplenomegaly, leg ulcers, development of masses from extramedullary hematopoiesis, and skeletal changes that result from expansion of the bone marrow. Regular transfusion therapy leads to iron overload-related complications including endocrine complication (growth retardation, failure of sexual maturation, diabetes mellitus, and insufficiency of the parathyroid, thyroid, pituitary, and less commonly, adrenal glands), dilated myocardiopathy, liver fibrosis and cirrhosis). Patients with thalassemia intermedia present later in life with moderate anemia and do not require regular transfusions. Main clinical features in these patients are hypertrophy of erythroid marrow with medullary and extramedullary hematopoiesis and its complications (osteoporosis, masses of erythropoietic tissue that primarily affect the spleen, liver, lymph nodes, chest and spine, and bone deformities and typical facial changes), gallstones, painful leg ulcers and increased predisposition to thrombosis. Thalassemia minor is clinically asymptomatic but some subjects may have moderate anemia. Beta-thalassemias are caused by point mutations or, more rarely, deletions in the beta globin gene on chromosome 11, leading to reduced (beta+) or absent (beta0) synthesis of the beta chains of hemoglobin (Hb). Transmission is autosomal recessive; however, dominant mutations have also been reported. Diagnosis of thalassemia is based on hematologic and molecular genetic testing. Differential diagnosis is usually straightforward but may include genetic sideroblastic anemias, congenital dyserythropoietic anemias, and other conditions with high levels of HbF (such as juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia and aplastic anemia). Genetic counseling is recommended and prenatal diagnosis may be offered. Treatment of thalassemia major includes regular RBC transfusions, iron chelation and management of secondary complications of iron overload. In some circumstances, spleen removal may be required. Bone marrow transplantation remains the only definitive cure currently available. Individuals with thalassemia intermedia may require splenectomy, folic acid supplementation, treatment of extramedullary erythropoietic masses and leg ulcers, prevention and therapy of thromboembolic events. Prognosis for individuals with beta-thalassemia has improved substantially in the last 20 years following recent medical advances in transfusion, iron chelation and bone marrow transplantation therapy. However, cardiac disease remains the main cause of death in patients with iron overload.
In β-thalassemia, profound anemia and severe hemosiderosis cause functional and physiological abnormalities in various organ systems. In recent years, there have been few published studies mainly in adult demonstrating renal involvement in β-thalassemia. This prospective study was aimed to investigate renal involvement in pediatric patients with transfusion dependant beta-thalassemia major (TD-βTM), using both conventional and early markers of glomerular and tubular dysfunctions, and to correlate findings to oxidative stress and iron chelation therapy.
Sixty-nine TD-βTM patients (aged 1-16 years) and 15 healthy controls (aged 3-14 years) were enrolled in this study. Based on receiving chelation therapy (deferoxamine, DFO), patients were divided into two groups: group [I] with chelation (n = 34) and group [II] without chelation (n = 35). Levels of creatinine (Cr), calcium (Ca), inorganic phosphorus (PO4), uric acid (UA) and albumin were measured by spectrophotometer. Serum (S) levels of cystatin-C (SCysC) and total antioxidant capacity (STAC) and urinary (U) levels of β2-microglobulin (Uβ2MG) were measured by immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Urinary N-acetyl-beta-D-glucosaminidase (UNAG) activity and malondialdehyde (UMDA) were measured by chemical methods. Estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) was determined from serum creatinine.
In patient with and without chelation, glomerular [elevated SCysC, SCr, Ualbumin/Cr and diminished eGFR]; and tubular dysfunctions [elevated SUA, SPO4, UNAG/Cr, Uβ2MG/Cr] and oxidative stress marker disturbances [diminished STAC and elevated UMDA/Cr] were reported than controls. In patients with chelation, SCysC was significantly higher while, STAC was significantly lower than those without chelation. In all patients, SCysC showed significant positive correlation with SCr and negative correlation with eGFR; STAC showed significant positive correlation with eGFR and negative correlation with SCysC, SCr, UNAG/Cr; UMDA/Cr showed significant positive correlation with Ualbumin/Cr, Uβ2MG/Cr, UNAG/Cr.
Our data confirm high frequency of glomerular and tubular dysfunctions in TD-βTM pediatric patients which could be attributed to oxidative stress and DFO therapy.
Iron overload is an important issue in the state of thalassemic patients due to the harmful effect of high concentration of iron deposited in different tissues in human body including endocrine glands. In the present work, an attempt is carried out to estimate the effect of iron overload in thalassemic patients on the function of endocrine glands through the estimation of their ability to secrete adequate amounts of certain hormones.
Materials and Methods:
Seventy eight male children with beta-thalassemia, in the age-group of 4–11 years, were enrolled for this research. These children were being treated with frequent transfusions and long-term iron chelation therapy. Thirty age and sex matched children without thalassemia constituted the control group. Ferritin and different hormones were estimated by ELISA technique.
The results showed a mild reduction in the function of endocrine glands through the decrease in the level of some hormones. These changes due mainly to the hypoxia and precipitation of iron in certain glands and overlapping with the synthesis or secretion of the hormones.
There is a different hormonal disturbances in beta thalassemia patients. Reduction of total body iron store is an important goal of the treatment of thalassemia and measuring the hormones concentration is necessary for the follow up of the thalassemic patients especially during puberty.
Glands; hormones; iron overload; thalassemia
X-linked alpha thalassemia, mental retardation syndrome in humans is a rare recessive disorder caused by mutations in the ATRX gene. The disease is characterised by severe mental retardation, mild alpha-thalassemia, microcephaly, short stature, facial, skeletal, genital and gonadal abnormalities.
We examined the expression of ATRX and ATRY during early development and gonadogenesis in two distantly related mammals: the tammar wallaby (a marsupial) and the mouse (a eutherian). This is the first examination of ATRX and ATRY in the developing mammalian gonad and fetus. ATRX and ATRY were strongly expressed in the developing male and female gonad respectively, of both species. In testes, ATRY expression was detected in the Sertoli cells, germ cells and some interstitial cells. In the developing ovaries, ATRX was initially restricted to the germ cells, but was present in the granulosa cells of mature ovaries from the primary follicle stage onwards and in the corpus luteum. ATRX mRNA expression was also examined outside the gonad in both mouse and tammar wallaby whole embryos. ATRX was detected in the developing limbs, craniofacial elements, neural tissues, tail and phallus. These sites correspond with developmental deficiencies displayed by ATR-X patients.
There is a complex expression pattern throughout development in both mammals, consistent with many of the observed ATR-X syndrome phenotypes in humans. The distribution of ATRX mRNA and protein in the gonads was highly conserved between the tammar and the mouse. The expression profile within the germ cells and somatic cells strikingly overlaps with that of DMRT1, suggesting a possible link between these two genes in gonadal development. Taken together, these data suggest that ATRX has a critical and conserved role in normal development of the testis and ovary in both the somatic and germ cells, and that its broad roles in early mammalian development and gonadal function have remained unchanged for over 148 million years of mammalian evolution.
Marsupial; eutherian; tammar wallaby; testis; ovary; germ cells
Understanding patients’ views about medication is crucial to maximize adherence. Thalassemia is a congenital blood disorder requiring chronic blood transfusions and daily iron chelation therapy.
The Beliefs in Medicine Questionnaire (BMQ) was used to assess beliefs in chelation in thalassemia patients from North America and London in the Thalassemia Longitudinal Cohort (TLC) of the Thalassemia Clinical Research Network (TCRN). Chelation adherence was based on patient report of doses administered out of those prescribed in the last four weeks.
Of 371 patients (ages 5-58y, mean 24y), 93% were transfused and 92% receiving chelation (26% deferoxamine (DFO; a slow subcutaneous infusion via portable pump), 63% oral, 11% combination). Patients expressed high “necessity” for transfusion (96%), DFO chelation (92%) and oral chelation (89%), with lower “concern” about treatment (48%, 39%, 19% respectively). Concern about oral chelation was significantly lower than that of DFO (p<0.001). Self-reported adherence to chelation was not associated with views about necessity or concerns, but negatively correlated with perceived sensitivity to DFO (Sensitive Soma scale; r=−0.23, p=0.01) and side effects of oral chelation (r=−0.14, p=0.04). High ferritin iron levels, potentially indicating lower adherence, were found in 41% of patients reporting low necessity of oral chelation compared to 24% reporting high necessity (p=0.048). Concerns about treatment were associated with lower quality of life and more symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Despite their requirement for multimodal therapy, thalassemia patients have positive views about medicine, more so than in other disease populations. Patients may benefit from education about the tolerability of chelation and strategies to effectively cope with side effects, both of which might be beneficial in lowering body iron burden.
Thalassemia; Necessity; Concerns; Chelation; Adherence
Heart disease is the leading cause of mortality and one of the main causes of morbidity in beta-thalassemia. Patients with homozygous thalassemia may have either a severe phenotype which is usually transfusion dependent or a milder form that is thalassemia intermedia. The two main factors that determine cardiac disease in homozygous β thalassemia are the high output state that results from chronic tissue hypoxia, hypoxia-induced compensatory reactions and iron overload. The high output state playing a major role in thalassaemia intermedia and the iron load being more significant in the major form. Arrhythmias, vascular involvement that leads to an increased pulmonary vascular resistance and an increased systemic vascular stiffness and valvular abnormalities also contribute to the cardiac dysfunction in varying degrees according to the severity of the phenotype. Endocrine abnormalities, infections, renal function and medications can also play a role in the overall cardiac function. For thalassaemia major, regular and adequate blood transfusions and iron chelation therapy are the mainstays of management. The approach to thalassaemia intermedia, today, is aimed at monitoring for complications and initiating, timely, regular transfusions and/or iron chelation therapy. Once the patients are on transfusions, then they should be managed in the same way as the thalassaemia major patients. If cardiac manifestations of dysfunction are present in either form of thalassaemia, high pre transfusion Hb levels need to be maintained in order to reduce cardiac output and appropriate intensive chelation therapy needs to be instituted. In general recommendations on chelation, today, are usually made according to the Cardiac Magnetic Resonance findings, if available. With the advances in the latter technology and the ability to tailor chelation therapy according to the MRI findings as well as the availability of three iron chelators, together with increasing the transfusions as need, it is hoped that the incidence of cardiac dysfunction in these syndromes will be markedly reduced. This of course depends very much on the attention to detail with the monitoring and the cooperation of the patient with both the recommended investigations and the prescribed chelation.
The thalassemias, sickle cell disease, and other hemoglobinopathies represent a major group of inherited disorders of hemoglobin synthesis. The abnormal hemoglobins were reviewed in the July 2006 issue of Baylor University Medical Center Proceedings. Because of immigration patterns and population flow, these disorders are becoming increasingly more prevalent in the USA. In this article, the clinical aspects of the more common thalassemia syndromes are reviewed. For most symptomatic patients with thalassemia, there is no definite cure; only supportive management of the anemia is possible. A very limited number of patients with thalassemia may be cured by bone marrow transplantation from HLA-identical donors. Other tentative approaches to management include stimulation of fetal hemoglobin synthesis and attempts at somatic cell gene therapy. Prevention of disease transmission by carrier screening programs along with prenatal diagnosis remain of paramount importance in the reduction of these diseases worldwide.
Thalassemia is one of the most common autosomal single-gene disorder worldwide. The highest prevalence of the disease is in the “thalassemia belt” which includes the Mediterranean region, parts of the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, the southern parts of the Far East, Pakistan and South-East Asia. This study aimed to detect the common molecular abnormalities of the beta thalassemia syndrome in Pakistan.
The study was conducted at the Institute of Hematology, Baqai Medical University, Karachi, Pakistan from August 2004 to November 2007. Blood samples of patients with beta thalassemia major (n = 400) were collected from hospital transfusion centres and diagnostic laboratories in different districts of Karachi representing five major ethnic groups including Punjabi, Pathan, Sindhi, Baluchi and Urdu speaking. All the samples were analysed for five common mutations by using the polymerase chain reaction technique ARMS (amplification of refractory mutation system).
The data revealed five common mutations including IVS 1–5(G→C), Fr 41/42(-CTTT), Fr 8/9 (+G), IVS 1–1 and Del 619. These accounted for 90% of the total beta thalassemia genes in Pakistan. The IVS 1–5(G→C) was found to be the most common beta thalassemia gene in the Pakistani population with a frequency of 44.4% present in all major ethnic groups.
The results of this study will be helpful in the establishment of a large scale prenatal diagnosis programme in Pakistan.
Beta thalassemia; Mutations; Pakistani population; Prenatal diagnosis
Chronic nature of thalassemia causes changes in different aspects of life in patients, including their quality of life. Because of the important role of family in caring for children with thalassemia, this study was done to evaluate the effect of family-centered empowerment model on quality of life of the children aged 6-12 years with thalassemia in Kerman Thalassemia Center.
The present experimental study was carried out on 86 thalassemic children aged 6-12 years who were randomly divided into case and control groups. Data collection tools consisted of demographic and general quality of life questionnaires in children that included physical, emotional and social aspects in addition to school functions. The questionnaires were used after determination of content validity and reliability by internal correlation method. This model was performed in test group according to four steps (threat perception, problem solving, educational participation and evaluation). Quality of life was measured 1.5 months after the intervention.
The results showed that the average quality of life of thalassemic children before the intervention was 26.23 in test group and 27.62 in the control group and they were not significantly different (p > 0.05). However after performing the model, the average quality of life in the test group reached 35.19 while it was 28.02 in control group and the observed difference was statistically significant (p < 0.05).
According to the impact of this model on quality of life in thalassemic children, it is recommended that evaluating the effectiveness of this model should be considered in further studies of other ages and other chronic diseases.
Children; empowerment; quality of life; thalassemia
Splenic function in patients with sickle B+ (SB+) thalassemia has been poorly documented. We evaluated the clinical course and splenic function in 12 children with SB+ thalassemia with simultaneous technetium sulfur colloid spleen scans and determination of pitted erythrocytes by direct interference contrast microscopy (DICM). All patients displayed normal uptake of radiocolloid. Mean percentage of pitted erythrocytes was 2.2% compared to 0.06% in 10 normal eusplenic controls and 13.8% in 10 sickle cell patients. In this group of children, who were carefully monitored for 136 patient years, there was no episode of bacteremia/sepsis, and a low prevalence of vaso-occlusive episodes. The slight increase in percentage of pitted erythrocytes of SB+ thalassemia patients does not seem to herald any clinically relevant loss of splenic function. SB+ thalassemia children younger than 10 years of age who do not seem to present a higher risk of invasive bacterial infections than eusplenic children, should receive conservative treatment for isolated febrile episodes and should not be submitted to prophylactic penicillin.
Southeast Asian ovalocytosis (SAO), α+-thalassemia, and low expression of complement receptor 1 (CR1) have been associated with protection against severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria. In a cohort of children 5–14 years of age the effect of α+-thalassemia, SAO (SLC4A1Δ27), CR1 polymorphisms, and Gerbich negativity (GYPCΔex3) on risk of P. falciparum infections and uncomplicated illness were evaluated. The risk of acquiring polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-diagnosed P. falciparum infections was significantly lower for α+-thalassemia heterozygotes (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.56) and homozygotes (HR: 0.51) than wild-type children. No such differences were seen in light of microscopy diagnosed infections (P = 0.71) or were α+-thalassemia genotypes associated with a reduced risk of uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria. No significant associations between the risk of P. falciparum infection or illness were observed for any of the other red blood cell polymorphisms (P > 0.2). This suggests that these polymorphisms are not associated with significant protection against P. falciparum blood-stage infection or uncomplicated malaria in school-aged children.