Repeated blood transfusion in beta thalassemia major patients may lead to peroxidative tissue injury by secondary iron overload. In the present study, 72 children with beta thalassemia major were included. Serum levels of total lipid peroxides, Iron, Total Iron Binding Capacity, Copper, Zinc, Vitamin E, plasma Total Antioxidant Capacity, activity of Erythrocyte Superoxide Dismutase, were measured. The findings were compared with 72 age matched healthy controls irrespective of sex. A significant increase in the levels of lipid peroxide and Iron (p<0.001), whereas, significant decrease in the levels of vitamin-E, Total Antioxidant Capacity and Total Iron Binding Capacity (p<0.001) was observed. Serum Zinc was significantly increased (p<0.001) with significant decrease in the levels of copper (p<0.001). Non Significant increase in the activity of Erythrocyte Superoxide Dismutase (p>0.05) was found in the patients when compared with controls. This suggest that oxidative stress and reduced antioxidant defense mechanism play an important role in pathogenesis of beta thalassemia major.
Beta thalassemia major; Oxidative stress; Antioxidants
Beta-thalassemia major is an autosomal recessive disease causing severe and hemolytic anemia, which begins about 2-6 months after birth. Iron overload, which arises from recurrent transfusion and ineffective erythropoiesis, can enhance oxidative stress in thalassemic patients. The aim of this study was to evaluate the serum total antioxidant capacity of patients with ß-Thalassemia major.
Sixty six Iranian patients with β-thalassemia major and 66 age-gender matched controls were evaluated for serum total antioxidant status (TAS), uric acid (UA), bilirubin and albumin. In addition, serum ferritin and transaminases were recorded in these subjects.
Significant increases of TAS, UA, and bilirubin were observed in the patient group, compared with the control group (P<0.01). Mean TAS and bilirubin in male patients was higher than in females (P=0.005 and P=0.008, respectively). There was also direct correlation between TAS and albumin (P<0.001), bilirubin (P<0.001) and UA (P=0.002).
Endogenous antioxidants such as ferritin, UA and bilirubin can result in increased level of TAS in the patients with Beta-thalassemia major. Compensatory excess of TAS to oxidative stress could also be the reason for difference between our findings and previous studies.
β-Thalassemia Major; Oxidative Stress; Antioxidants; Ferritin; Uric Acid
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
One of the hallmarks of both sickle cell disease (SCD) and thalassemia major (TM) is accelerated oxidative damage. Decreased antioxidant levels and increased oxidant stress biomarkers are found in both diseases. Although isolated vitamin deficiencies have been reported in TM and nontransfused SCD patients, a comprehensive evaluation of vitamin and trace mineral levels has never been performed in chronically transfused SCD or TM patients. As vitamins and trace minerals may be consumed as a result of chronic oxidative stress; we hypothesized that levels of these compounds would correlate with surrogates of iron overload, hemolysis, and inflammation in chronically transfused patients. Using a convenience sample of our group of chronically transfused patients we studied 43 patients with SCD (17 male, 26 female) and 24 patients with TM (13 male and 11 female). The age range for our patients varied from 1.5 to 31.4 years. Levels of vitamins A, thiamin, B6, B12, C, D, E as well as selenium, zinc, copper, and ceruloplasmin were measured. We found that 40–75% of the patients were deficient in A, C, D and selenium and 28–38% of the patients had low levels of B vitamins and folate. There was little association with iron overload, hemolysis, or inflammation. Although the precise mechanism of these deficiencies is unclear, they may contribute to the morbidity of chronically transfused hemoglobinopathy patients.
Beta-thalassemia and sickle cell anemia (SCD) represent the most common hemoglobinopathies caused, respectively, by deficient production or alteration of the beta chain of hemoglobin (Hb). Patients affected by the most severe form of thalassemia suffer from profound anemia that requires chronic blood transfusions and chelation therapies to prevent iron overload. However, patients affected by beta-thalassemia intermedia, a milder form of the disease that does not require chronic blood transfusions, eventually also show elevated body iron content due to increased gastrointestinal iron absorption. Even SCD patients might require blood transfusions and iron chelation to prevent deleterious and painful vaso-occlusive crises and complications due to iron overload. Although definitive cures are presently available, such as bone marrow transplantation (BMT), or are in development, such as correction of the disease through hematopoietic stem cell beta-globin gene transfer, they are potentially hazardous procedures or too experimental to provide consistently safe and predictive clinical outcomes. Therefore, studies that aim to better understand the pathophysiology of the hemoglobinopathies might provide further insight and new drugs to dramatically improve the understanding and current treatment of these diseases. This review will describe how recent discoveries on iron metabolism and erythropoiesis could lead to new therapeutic strategies and better clinical care of these diseases, thereby yielding a much better quality of life for the patients.
Hemoglobinopathies; iron metabolism; erythropoiesis; mouse models; hemochromatosis; hepcidin; ferroportin
Thalassemia is a genetic disorder of hemoglobin synthesis, which requires regular blood transfusion therapy leading to iron overload in the body tissues. Transfusional hemosiderosis is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in these patients. Reliable methods for evaluation of iron overload are either invasive, costly or remotely available. Therefore, a simple technique of monitoring iron overload is desirable.
To know whether iron can be demonstrated in exfoliated buccal cells of β-thalassemia major patients using Perls’ Prussian blue method and to correlate it with serum ferritin levels.
Materials and Methods:
Smears were obtained from buccal mucosa of 60 randomly selected β-thalassemia major patients and 30 healthy subjects as controls. Smears were stained with Perls’ Prussian blue method. Blood samples were taken for estimation of serum ferritin levels.
Chi-square, Mann-Whitney, and Spearman Rank's Correlation tests.
Perls’ positivity was observed in 71.7% of thalassemic patients with a moderately positive correlation to serum ferritin levels.
Oral exfoliative cytology can be a useful tool in demonstration of iron overload in thalassemic patients, however, further research in this field in the direction of quantification of these procedures is required, which can establish this non-invasive procedure as an ideal screening tool.
Iron overload; oral exfoliative cytology; Perls’ Prussian blue staining; thalassemia
Iron overload is the principal cause of morbidity and mortality in β-thalassemia with or without transfusion dependence. Iron homeostasis is regulated by the hepatic peptide hormone hepcidin. Hepcidin controls dietary iron absorption, plasma iron concentrations, and tissue iron distribution. Hepcidin deficiency is the main or contributing factor of iron overload in iron-loading anemias such as β-thalassemia. Hepcidin deficiency results from a strong suppressive effect of the high erythropoietic activity on hepcidin expression. Although in thalassemia major patients iron absorption contributes less to the total iron load than transfusions, in non-transfused thalassemia, low hepcidin and the consequent hyperabsorption of dietary iron is the major cause of systemic iron overload. Hepcidin diagnostics and future therapeutic agonists may help in management of patients with β-thalassemia.
hepcidin; β-thalassemia; iron overload
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.
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.
Iron cardiomyopathy remains the leading cause of death in patients with thalassemia major. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is ideally suited for monitoring thalassemia patients because it can detect cardiac and liver iron burdens as well as accurately measure left ventricular dimensions and function. However, patients with thalassemia have unique physiology that alters their normative data. In this article, we review the physiology and pathophysiology of thalassemic heart disease as well as the use of MRI to monitor it. Despite regular transfusions, thalassemia major patients have larger ventricular volumes, higher cardiac outputs, and lower total vascular resistances than published data for healthy control subjects; these hemodynamic findings are consistent with chronic anemia. Cardiac iron overload increases the relative risk of further dilation, arrhythmias, and decreased systolic function. However, many patients are asymptomatic despite heavy cardiac burdens. We explore possible mechanisms behind cardiac iron-function relationships and relate these mechanisms to clinical observations.
iron; heart; MRI; ejection fraction; cardiac function; T2*
Beta thalassemia is the most frequent genetic disorder of haemoglobin synthesis in Pakistan. Recurrent transfusions lead to iron-overload manifested by increased serum Ferritin levels, for which chelation therapy is required.
The study was conducted in the Pediatric Emergency unit of Civil Hospital Karachi after ethical approval by the Institutional Review Board of Dow University of Health Sciences. Seventy nine cases of beta thalassemia major were included after a written consent. The care takers were interviewed for the socio-demographic variables and the use of Desferrioxamine therapy, after which a blood sample was drawn to assess the serum Ferritin level. SPSS 15.0 was employed for data entry and analysis.
Of the seventy-nine patients included in the study, 46 (58.2%) were males while 33 (41.8%) were females. The mean age was 10.8 (± 4.5) years with the dominant age group (46.2%) being 10 to 14 years. In 62 (78.8%) cases, the care taker education was below the tenth grade. The mean serum Ferritin level in our study were 4236.5 ng/ml and showed a directly proportional relationship with age. Desferrioxamine was used by patients in 46 (58.2%) cases with monthly house hold income significant factor to the use of therapy.
The mean serum Ferritin levels are approximately ten times higher than the normal recommended levels for normal individuals, with two-fifths of the patients not receiving iron chelation therapy at all. Use of iron chelation therapy and titrating the dose according to the need can significantly lower the iron load reducing the risk of iron-overload related complications leading to a better quality of life and improving survival in Pakistani beta thalassemia major patients.
Conflicts of Interest: None
Beta thalassemia major; Ferritin; Desferrioxamine; Socio-demographic factors; Pakistan
Most of the techniques for measuring iron stores such as serum iron concentration, iron binding capacity, serum ferritin level, liver biopsy can be troublesome or invasive for patients with thalassemia. The salivary iron measurement could be of potential advantage being an easy and non invasive approach for diagnosis of iron deficiency and iron overload . The aim of this study was to compare the levels of iron and ferritin in saliva and serum of patients affected by thalassemia or iron deficiency anemia. For this purpose, 96 patients with iron overload (71 with thalassemia major, 10 with thalassemia intermedia and 15 with thalassemia trait), 30 patients with iron deficiency anemia, and 35 healthy children as control group were involved in this study. Their saliva and serum iron and ferritin levels were measured. Iron and ferritin levels were higher in iron overload groups than in control group and lower in iron deficiency group (p<0.05). Furthermore serum and saliva iron and ferritin levels paralleled in all groups. In conclusion, iron and ferritin saliva can be routinely used for diagnosis of both iron overload and deficiency; furthermore this procedure may be an important advantage for blood donors being easily available and not invasive.
AIM: To investigate the accuracy of T2*-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI T2*) in the evaluation of iron overload in beta-thalassemia major patients.
METHODS: In this cross-sectional study, 210 patients with beta-thalassemia major having regular blood transfusions were consecutively enrolled. Serum ferritin levels were measured, and all patients underwent MRI T2* of the liver. Liver biopsy was performed in 53 patients at an interval of no longer than 3 mo after the MRIT2* in each patient. The amount of iron was assessed in both MRI T2* and liver biopsy specimens of each patient.
RESULTS: Patients’ ages ranged from 8 to 54 years with a mean of 24.59 ± 8.5 years. Mean serum ferritin level was 1906 ± 1644 ng/mL. Liver biopsy showed a moderate negative correlation with liver MRI T2* (r = -0.573, P = 0.000) and a low positive correlation with ferritin level (r = 0.350, P = 0.001). Serum ferritin levels showed a moderate negative correlation with liver MRI T2* values (r = -0.586, P = 0.000).
CONCLUSION: Our study suggests that MRI T2* is a non-invasive, safe and reliable method for detecting iron load in patients with iron overload.
T2*-weighted magnetic resonance imaging; Liver; Iron overload; Major thalassemia; Ferritin
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
Hypothyroidism usually appears in the second decade of life and is thought to be associated with iron overload in patients with thalassemia major. This study aimed to evaluate thyroid dysfunctions in patients with beta-thalassemia major and to see if they appear in the earlier period of life.
Thyroid function and iron load status were evaluated in 90 children with a mean age of 7.17±3.78 years with beta-thalassemia major by measuring serum free thyroxin (FT4), serum free triiodothyronine (FT3), total thyroxin (T3), serum total triiodothyronine (T4), thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and ferritin levels from serum of patients admitted to the Pediatric Department, Faculty of Medicine University of Dicle between March 2005 and July 2009. A control group formed from an age-sex matched healthy children with a mean age of 6.98±3.66 years was also included. A standard thyrotropin releasing hormone test was applied to 3 patients who had high TSH levels and were classified as subclinical primer hypothyroidism. The study was designed according to the Declaration of Helsinki and informed consent was obtained from the parents of all participants.
All thyroid parameters in patients were in the normal ranges compared with the controls except three of them which had high TSH levels. Serum ferritin level (2703±1649 ng/mL) in patients was significantly higher than in controls (81.5±15.5 ng/mL).
The work implies that hypothyroidism could be even seen in the first decade of life in patients with beta-thalassemia major in spite of improved hematological cares.
Beta-Thalassemia; Hypothyroidism; Iron Overload; Chelation Therapy; Splenectomy
Myocardial siderosis is known as the major cause of death in thalassemia major (TM) patients since it can lead to iron overload cardiomyopathy. Although this condition can be prevented if timely effective intensive chelation is given to patients, the mortality rate of iron overload cardiomyopathy still remains high due to late detection of this condition. Various direct and indirect methods of iron assessment, including serum ferritin level, echocardiogram, non-transferrin-bound iron, cardiac magnetic resonance T2*, heart rate variability, and liver biopsy and myocardial biopsy, have been proposed for early detection of cardiac iron overload in TM patients. However, controversial evidence and limitations of their use in clinical practice exist. In this review article, all of these iron assessment methods that have been proposed or used to directly or indirectly determine the cardiac iron status in TM reported from both basic and clinical studies are comprehensively summarized and presented. Since there has been growing evidence in the past decades that cardiac magnetic resonance imaging as well as cardiac autonomic status known as the heart rate variability can provide early detection of cardiac involvement in TM patients, these two methods are also presented and discussed. The existing controversy regarding the assessment of cardiac involvement in thalassemia is also discussed.
Thalassemia; Iron overload; Cardiomyopathy; Serum ferritin; Heart rate variability; Magnetic resonance; Non-transferrin-bound iron
Iron cardiomyopathy is a lethal complication of transfusion therapy in thalassemia major. Nutritional supplements decreasing cardiac iron uptake or toxicity would have clinical significance. Murine studies suggest taurine may prevent oxidative damage and inhibit Ca2+-channel-mediated iron transport. We hypothesized that taurine supplementation would decrease cardiac iron-overloaded toxicity by decreasing cardiac iron. Vitamin E and selenium served as antioxidant control.
Animals were divided into control, iron, taurine, and vitamin E/selenium groups. Following sacrifice, iron and selenium measurements, histology, and biochemical analyses were performed.
No significant differences were found in heart and liver iron content between treatment groups, except for higher hepatic dry-weight iron concentrations in taurine-treated animals (p < 0.03). Serum iron increased with iron loading (751 ± 66 vs. 251 ± 54 μg/dl, p < 0.001) and with taurine (903 ± 136 μg/dl, p = 0.03).
Consistent with oxidative stress, iron overload increased cardiac malondialdehyde levels, decreased heart glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activity, and increased serum aspartate aminotransferase. Taurine ameliorated these changes, but only significantly for liver GPx activity. Selenium and vitamin E supplementation did not improve oxidative markers and worsened cardiac GPx activity. These results suggest that taurine acts primarily as an antioxidant rather than inhibiting iron uptake. Future studies should illuminate the complexity of these results.
Iron overload; Taurine; Heart; Liver; Antioxidants
There are two main mechanisms by which iron overload develops in thalassemias: increased iron absorption due to ineffective erythropoiesis and blood transfusions. In nontransfused patients with severe thalassemia, abnormal dietary iron absorption increases body iron burden between 2 and 5 g per year. If regular transfusions are required, this doubles the rate of iron accumulation leading to earlier massive iron overload and iron-related damage. Iron metabolism largely differs between thalassemias and sickle cell disease, but chronic transfusion therapy partially normalize many of the disparities between the diseases, making iron overload an important issue to be considered in the management of patients with sickle cell disease too. The present review summarizes the actual knowledge on the regulatory pathways of iron homeostasis. In particular, the data presented indicate the inextricably link between erythropoiesis and iron metabolism and the key role of hepcidin in coordinating iron procurement according to erythropoietic requirement. The role of erythropoietin, hypoxia, erythroid-dependent soluble factors and iron in regulating hepcidin transcription are discussed as well as differences and similarities in iron homeostasis between thalassemia syndromes and sickle cell disease.
Human β-thalassemia major is one of the most prevalent genetic diseases characterized by decrease/absence of β-globin chain production with reduction of erythrocyte number. The main cause of death of treated β-thalassemia major patients with chronic blood transfusion is early cardiac complications that have been attributed to secondary iron overload despite optimal chelation. Herein, we investigated pathophysiological mechanisms of cardiovascular dysfunction in a severe murine model of β-thalassemia from 6 to 15-months of age in the absence of confounding effects related to transfusion. Our longitudinal echocardiography analysis showed that β-thalassemic mice first display a significant increase of cardiac output in response to limited oxygen-carrying erythrocytes that progressed rapidly to left ventricular hypertrophy and structural remodeling. Following this compensated hypertrophy, β-thalassemic mice developed age-dependent deterioration of left ventricular contractility and dysfunction that led toward decompensated heart failure. Consistently, murine β-thalassemic hearts histopathology revealed cardiac remodeling with increased interstitial fibrosis but virtual absence of myocardial iron deposits. Importantly, development of thalassemic cardiac hypertrophy and dysfunction independently of iron overload has uncoupled these cardiopathogenic processes. Altogether our study on β-thalassemia major hemoglobinopathy points to two successive phases resulting from severe chronic anemia and from secondarily induced mechanisms as pathophysiologic contributors to thalassemic cardiopathy.
Beta thalassemia major patients are vulnerable to transfusion-transmitted infection, especially hepatitis C virus (HCV), and iron overload. These comorbidities lead to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma in these patients. In order to prevent these complications, treatment of HCV infection and regular iron chelating seems to be necessary. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of hepatic iron concentration (HIC) and viral factors on the sustained virological response (SVR) in chronic HCV-infected patients, with beta thalassemia major being treated with interferon and ribavirin.
Materials and methods:
We enrolled 30 patients with thalassemia major and chronic HCV who were referred to the Hematology Clinic of Guilan University of Medical Sciences, between December 2002 and April 2006. HIC was measured by atomic absorption spectroscopy before treatment. The viral factors (viral load, genotype) and HIC were compared between those who achieved a SVR and nonresponders.
Mean age of the 30 thalassemic patients, was 22.56 ± 4.28 years (14–30 years). Most patients were male (56.7%). Genotype 1a was seen in 24 (80%) cases. SVR was achieved in 15 patients (50%). There were no significant correlations between HIC (P = 1.00), viral load (P = 0.414), HCV genotype (P = 0.068), and SVR. No difference was observed in viral load (P = 0.669) and HIC (P = 0.654) between responders and nonresponders.
HIC, HCV viral load, and HCV genotype were not correlated with virological response, and it seems that there is no need to postpone antiviral treatment for more vigorous iron chelating therapy.
hepatitis C virus; hepatic iron concentration; combination therapy; thalassemia major; interferon alfa; ribavirin
In recent years there have been major advances in our knowledge of the regulation of iron metabolism that have had implications for understanding the pathophysiology of some human disorders like beta-thalassemia and other iron overload diseases. However, little is known about the relationship among ineffective erythropoiesis, the role of iron-regulatory genes, and tissue iron distribution in beta-thalassemia. The principal aim of this paper is an update about the role of Ferroportin during human normal and pathological erythroid differentiation. Particular attention will be given to beta-thalassemia and other diseases with iron overload. Recent discoveries indicate that there is a potential for therapeutic intervention in beta-thalassemia by means of manipulating iron metabolism.
To study the ocular manifestations in multiple transfused beta-thalassemia major patients and assess the ocular side-effects of iron chelating agents.
Materials and Methods:
In this prospective observational study, 45 multiple transfused beta-thalassemia major children between six months and 21 years of age were enrolled and assigned groups according to the treatment regimens suggested. Group A received only blood transfusions, Group B blood transfusions with subcutaneous desferrioxamine, Group C blood transfusions with desferrioxamine and oral deferriprone and Group D blood transfusions with deferriprone. Ocular status at the time of enrolment was documented. Subjects were observed quarterly for one year for changes in ocular status arising due to the disease process and due to iron chelation therapy. Children with hemoglobinopathies other than beta-thalassemia major, congenital ocular anomalies and anemia due to other causes were excluded.
Ocular involvement was observed in 58% of patients. Lenticular opacities were the most common ocular finding (44%), followed by decreased visual acuity (33%). An increased occurrence of ocular changes was observed with increase of serum ferritin and serum iron levels as well as with higher number of blood transfusions received. Desferrioxamine seemed to have a protective influence on retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) mottling. Occurrence of lenticular opacities and RPE degeneration correlated positively with use of desferrioxamine and deferriprone respectively. Follow-up of patients for one year did not reveal any change in ocular status.
Regular ocular examinations can aid in preventing, delaying or ameliorating the ocular complications of thalassemia.
Desferrioxamine; deferriprone; iron overload; thalassemia
The thalassemias are among the most common genetic disorders worldwide, occurring more frequently in the Mediterranean region. The aim of this study was to determined frequency of sensory-neural hearing loss in major ß- thalassemias transfusion dependent patients in south of Iran.
A cross sectional study on 308 cases of major beta-thalassemia patients referring to Thalassemia Center of Shiraz University of Medical Sciences between 2006–2007 years. The diagnosis of ß- thalassemia major was based on clinical history, complete blood count and hemoglobine electrophoresis. Clinical data such as serum ferritin level, deferoxamine (DFO) dose, mean daily doses of DFO (mg/kg) and audiometric variables was recorded.
Out of 308 cases, 283 (96.5%) had normal hearing and 10 (3.5%) sensorineural hearing loss. There was no statically significant difference between two groups regarding mean age, weight, age at the first blood transfusion, age at the first DFO infusion.
We found the lowest incidence of sensorineural hearing loss in a large population of patients suffered from major thalassemia who received DFO. We show that DFO is not ototoxic at a low dose. When considering all related literature, as a whole there has been much critical misrepresentation about DFO ototoxicity.
Thalassemia; Sensorineural Hearing Loss; Blood Transfusion; Deferoxamine; Ferritin
Introduction. In iron overload status, excess iron deposits in reticuloendothelial cells and tissues and can be detected using Prussian blue staining. The aim of this paper was to investigate the relationship between siderocyte numbers and plasma ferritin levels (a practically standard marker of iron overload) in the blood of the splenectomized and nonsplenectomized β-thalassemia/HbE patients, who are at risk of iron overload. Methods. EDTA blood samples from 64 patients with 35 splenectomized and 29 nonsplenectomized β-thalassemia/HbE patients, who received regular blood transfusions, and 20 normal individuals were investigated for siderocyte numbers, plasma ferritin levels, and complete blood counts. Results. The average percent siderocytes in splenectomized and nonsplenectomized β-thalassemia/HbE patients were 11.5% and 0.08%, respectively, and plasma ferritin levels of 2,332 μg/L and 1,279 μg/L, respectively. Percent siderocytes showed a good correlation with plasma ferritin levels only in splenectomized patients (r = 0.69, P < 0.001). A receiver operating curve analysis from splenectomized patients' data indicated that siderocytes at 3% cut-off are the best predictor for plasma ferritin level ≥1,000 μg/L with 92.9% sensitivity and 42.9% specificity. Conclusion. Circulating siderocyte numbers can be used as a screening test for the assessment of the iron overload in splenectomized β-thalassemia/HbE patients in the place where serum ferritin is not available.