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Effect of hydroxyurea on G gamma chain fetal hemoglobin synthesis by sickle-cell disease patients

Effect of hydroxyurea on G gamma chain fetal hemoglobin synthesis by sickle-cell disease patients

Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research 36(10): 1289-1292

Hydroxyurea is used for sickle-cell disease patients in order to increase fetal hemoglobin synthesis and consequently decrease the severity of pain episodes. Fetal hemoglobin, which is formed by gamma-globin chains A and G, is present in a constant composition throughout fetal development: about 75% of Ggamma and 25% of Agamma. In contrast, adult red cells contain about 40% of Ggamma and 60% of Agamma. In the present study, we analyzed the effect of hydroxyurea induction on the gamma chain composition of fetal hemoglobin in 31 sickle-cell disease patients treated with hydroxyurea. The control group was composed of 30 sickle-cell disease patients not treated with hydroxyurea in clinical steady state. The patients were older than 13 years and were not matched for age. All patients were seen at Hemocentro/UNICAMP and Boldrini Infantile Center, Campinas, SP, Brazil. The levels of total hemoglobin were significantly higher in patients treated with hydroxyurea (mean +/- SD, 9.6+/-2.16 g/dl) than in untreated patients (8.07+/-0.91 g/dl). Fetal hemoglobin levels were also higher in treated patients (14.16+/-8.31%) than in untreated patients (8.8+/-4.09%), as was the Ggamma/Agamma ratio (1.45+/-0.78 vs 0.98+/-0.4, P < 0.005). The increase in the Ggamma/Agamma ratio in patients treated with hydroxyurea suggests the prevalence of a pattern of fetal hemoglobin synthesis, whereas patients not treated with hydroxyurea maintain the adult pattern of fetal hemoglobin synthesis. Because no correlation was observed between the Ggamma/Agamma ratio and total hemoglobin or fetal hemoglobin levels, the increase in Ggamma chain synthesis may not imply a higher production of hemoglobin.

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Accession: 011997593

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PMID: 14502358

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