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Title: Novel approach towards pathogenesis and treatment of sickle cell disease
Author: Al Balushi, Halima
ISNI:       0000 0004 7660 9592
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2019
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Sickle cell disease (SCD) is one of the most common genetic diseases worldwide. HbS polymerisation causes altered red blood cell (RBC) rheology and fragility, increase in blood viscosity with blockage of small blood vessels, and RBC membrane permeability changes. Excessive levels of cell-free Hb, high autoxidation of Hb, contribute to the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in SCD patients. In this work, oxidants showed direct and indirect effects on the main cation permeability pathways involved in dehydration of HbS/S RBCs - Psickle, the Gardos channel and the KCl cotransporter (KCC) - and thus on RBC volume causing polymersation. Psickle and Gardos channel activities showed significant correlation, consistent with the hypothesis that Ca2+ entry via Psickle causes activation of the Ca2+-dependent K+ channel. Treatment of SCD remains inadequate relying on the blood transfusion and supportive therapy depending on the organ affected. In the present study antioxidants and aromatic aldehydes showed some promising results towards future alternative treatments for SCD. Antioxidants showed inhibitory effects on the cation permeability pathways leading to inhibition of polymerisation and haemolysis and thus maintained RBC volume. Aromatic aldehydes interact with HbS and are usually given to increase oxygen affinity, thereby reducing its tendency to polymerise. GBT1118 had a marked inhibitory effect on all three cation permeability pathways. It reduced sickling, Psickle and Gardos activity. It inhibited KCC by affecting the regulatory protein phosphorylation cascade. It maintained RBC hydration, and stabilised RBCs. Historically Oman was the principal trading port of the Persian Gulf region, resulting in the complex mix of social and ethnic backgrounds. In 1989 a second mutation in the β chain of Hb, at position β121 was found in an Omani patient in addition to the usual HbS mutation at the β6 position, and termed HbS-Oman. At low percentage of HbS-Oman patients show severe SCD symptoms. Despite RBCs containing at most 25% HbS-Oman, there was high sickling percentage and K+ permeability showed many features similar to those seen in homozygous HbS/S patients. The presence of α thalassaemia was protective and represents an obvious potential prognostic marker for this rare SCD genotype. Overall, the present work contributes to elucidation of the pathogenesis of SCD, suggests approaches to the development of novel therapies and increases our understanding of a rare SCD genotype, HbS-Oman.
Supervisor: Gibson, John Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Sickle cell disease ; HbS-Oman ; Red cell ; Potassium pereability.