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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Interferon-gamma modulates fetal hemoglobin synthesis in sickle cell anemia and thalassemia.

Interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) has been shown to influence globin gene expression in cord blood and normal adult progenitor-derived erythroblasts. To explore the influence of IFN-gamma on fetal hemoglobin (HbF) synthesis in the hemoglobinopathies, erythroid progenitors (BFU-E, burst forming unit-erythroid) from patients with sickle cell anemia (SCA) and thalassemia were co-cultured with or without IFN-gamma. Hemoglobin content in progenitor-derived erythroblasts was assessed by radioligand assay (RIA). Co-culture of erythroid progenitors from 12 SCA patients with 200-400 U/ml of IFN-gamma resulted in a significant decrease in picograms of HbF and percent HbF per BFU-E-derived erythroblast. The mean decrease (+/- SEM) of picograms of HbF per cell and percent of HbF was by 42 +/- 9% and 35 +/- 8% of control cultures, respectively. Co-culture of erythroid progenitors from 10 patients with thalassemia major or thalassemia variant (HPFH/thalassemia, sickle/beta 0-thalassemia) with 200 U/ml IFN-gamma also resulted in a significant decrease in picograms and percent of HbF per BFU-E-derived erythroblast. IFN-gamma treatment also inhibited the enhancement in gamma-globin synthesis induced in culture by butyric acid. Erythroid progenitors from 2 patients with SCA, 1 patient with sickle/beta 0-thalassemia, and 1 patient with HbE/beta 0-thalassemia were co-cultured with IFN-gamma, L-alpha-amino-n-butyric acid, or both. HbF content (expressed as picograms HbF/cell) was decreased in samples co-cultured with IFN, increased in cultures with L-alpha-amino-n-butyric acid, but remained at control values in cultures treated with IFN plus L-alpha-amino-n-butyric acid. These data demonstrate that IFN-gamma is an environmental factor that influences gamma-globin gene expression in the beta hemoglobinopathies in vitro.[1]


  1. Interferon-gamma modulates fetal hemoglobin synthesis in sickle cell anemia and thalassemia. Miller, B.A., Olivieri, N., Hope, S.M., Faller, D.V., Perrine, S.P. J. Interferon Res. (1990) [Pubmed]
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