Background Thalassaemia is a haemoglobin disorder caused by a reduction in, or a complete absence of, the production of α- or β-globin genes. Detection of β-thalassaemia carriers is the first step in the prenatal diagnosis of the disease and is based primarily on the differences between levels of blood cell indices. Since co-inheritance of β- and α-thalassaemia mutations modulates the haematological parameters of heterozygote β-thalassaemia indices, understanding the influence of this interaction is helpful for identification of disease carriers.
Objective To determine the effects of α-thalassaemia mutations on the haematological parameters of β-thalassaemia carriers.
Method We used gap-PCR and amplification refractory mutation system techniques to find any α- and/or β-thalassaemia mutations in 270 subjects who were suspected to be thalassaemia carriers. The mean values of the haematological parameters in α, β-thalassaemia and β-thalassaemia carriers were compared.
Results Significant differences in mean corpuscular volume (MCV), mean corpuscular haemoglobin (MCH) and HbA2 were found between the two groups. Patients who were α, β-thalassaemia carriers had higher mean values of MCV and MCH, whereas HbA2 levels were higher in simple β-thalassaemia. No marked differences were found in mean cell haemoglobin (Hb) concentration and Hb blood cell indices. The value of MCV, MCH and HbA2 were significantly different between α,β-thalassaemia and simple β-thalassaemia in men and women, but the mean values of Hb in the two groups differed markedly only in men.
Conclusion We conclude that co-inheritance of α- and β-thalassaemia mutations may result in misdiagnosis of β-thalassaemia carriers. Therefore, in genetic counselling of patients with a near-normal range of blood cell indices the possibility that they may carry α, β-thalassaemia mutations must be considered.
- BLOOD CULTURE
- BLOOD RHEOLOGY
- BLOOD TRANSFUSION
- BLOOD VESSELS