Hemoglobin E diseases: Hematological, analytical, and biosynthetic studies in homozygotes and double heterozygotes for α-thalassemia
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Two families with Hb E diseases are described. In the Laotian family S, three homozygous Hb E were found. In the Vietnamese family H, double heterozygous Hb E-alpha-thalassemia-2 and Hb E-Hb H diseases were found. Anemia or hemolysis was absent in Hb E carriers, unless complicated by iron deficiency, the presence of severe alpha-thalassemia gene (Hb H disease), or oxidative drug (paraaminosalicylic acid). Moreover, iron deficiency or concurrent alpha-thalassemia genes resulted in a decreased amount of Hb E in its heterozygous carriers. Mild microcytosis and hypochromia were observed in Hb E heterozygotes, whereas the microcytosis and hypochromia were more pronounced in Hb E homozygotes. Globin chain synthesis studies yielded unbalanced alpha/non-alpha ratios in both heterozygotes and homozygotes (average ratios were 1.13 and 1.56, respectively). The unbalanced biosynthetic ratios with microcytosis and hypochromia in Hb E carriers represented a beta-thalassemia phenotype, which could be a result of reduced synthesis of beta E-globin mRNA, as suggested by recent hybridization studies.