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BACKGROUND - Sickle cell disease (SCD) is an autosomal recessive genetic disorder, with persons heterozygous for the mutation said to have the sickle cell trait (SCT). Serious adverse effects are mainly limited to those with SCD, but the distinction between disease and trait is not always clear to the general population. We sought to determine the accuracy of self-reported SCD when compared to genetic confirmation.
METHODS - From stratified random samples of Southern Community Cohort Study participants, we sequenced the β- globin gene in 51 individuals reporting SCD and 75 individuals reporting no SCD.
RESULTS - The median age of the group selected was 53 years (range 40-69) with 29% male. Only 5.9% of the 51 individuals reporting SCD were confirmed by sequencing, with the remaining 62.7% having SCT, 5.9% having hemoglobin C trait, and 25.5% having neither SCD nor trait. Sequencing results of the 75 individuals reporting no SCD by contrast were 100% concordant with self-report.
CONCLUSIONS - Misreporting of SCD is common in an older adult population, with most persons reporting SCD in this study being carriers of the trait and a sizeable minority completely unaffected. The results from this pilot survey support the need for increased efforts to raise community awareness and knowledge of SCD.
© 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
Genetic diversity at the human β-globin locus has been implicated as a modifier of sickle cell anaemia (SCA) severity. However, haplotypes defined by restriction fragment length polymorphism sites across the β-globin locus have not been consistently associated with clinical phenotypes. To define the genetic structure at the β-globin locus more thoroughly, we performed high-density single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) mapping in 820 children who were homozygous for the sickle cell mutation (HbSS). Genotyping results revealed very high linkage disequilibrium across a large region spanning the locus control region and the HBB (β-globin gene) cluster. We identified three predominant haplotypes accounting for 96% of the β(S) -carrying chromosomes in this population that could be distinguished using a minimal set of common SNPs. Consistent with previous studies, fetal haemoglobin level was significantly associated with β(S) -haplotypes. After controlling for covariates, an association was detected between haplotype and rate of hospitalization for acute chest syndrome (ACS) (incidence rate ratio 0·51, 95% confidence interval 0·29-0·89) but not incidence rate of vaso-occlusive pain or presence of silent cerebral infarct (SCI). Our results suggest that these SNP-defined β(S) -haplotypes may be associated with ACS, but not pain or SCI in a study population of children with SCA.
© 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.