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Haptoglobin, Alpha-thalassaemia and Glucose-6-phosphate Dehydrogenase Polymorphisms and Risk of Abnormal Transcranial Doppler among Patients with Sickle cell anaemia in Tanzania

John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Publication Date
  • Surveillance
  • Monitoring & Evaluation


Transcranial Doppler ultrasonography measures cerebral blood flow velocity (CBFv) of basal intracranial vessels and is used clinically to detect stroke risk in children with sickle cell anaemia (SCA). Co-inheritance in SCA of alpha-thalassaemia and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) polymorphisms is reported to associate with high CBFv and/or risk of stroke. The effect of a common functional polymorphism of haptoglobin (HP) is unknown. We investigated the effect of co-inheritance of these polymorphisms on CBFv in 601 stroke-free Tanzanian SCA patients aged <24 years. Homozygosity for alpha-thalassaemia 3_7 deletion was significantly associated with reduced mean CBFv compared to wild-type (b-coefficient_16_1 cm/s, P = 0_002) adjusted for age and survey year. Inheritance of 1 or 2 alpha-thalassaemia deletions was associated with decreased risk of abnormally high CBFv, compared to published data from Kenyan healthy control children (Relative risk ratio [RRR] = 0_53 [95% confidence interval (CI):0_35–0_8] & RRR = 0_43 [95% CI:0_23–0_78]), and reduced risk of abnormally low CBFv for 1 deletion only (RRR = 0_38 [95% CI:0_17–0_83]). No effects were observed for G6PD or HP polymorphisms. This is the first report of the effects of co-inheritance of common polymorphisms, including the HP polymorphism, on CBFv in SCA patients resident in Africa and confirms the importance of alpha-thalassaemia in reducing risk of abnormal CBFv.

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