Haptoglobin, alpha-thalassaemia and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase polymorphisms and risk of abnormal transcranial Doppler among patients with sickle cell anaemia in Tanzania uri icon


  • 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 (?-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

publication date

  • 2014