Sickle cell disease (SCD) is relatively mild among Kuwaiti Arabs. However, an atypical subset of patients exists with frequent, severe vaso-occlusive crisis and osteonecrosis. The thermolabile variant of MTHFR, resulting from a C→T mutation at nucleotide 677, has been shown to be associated with hyperhomocysteinemia, which is an important risk factor for premature vascular disease. We have screened an unselected group of 41 Kuwaiti SCD patients (33 SS and 8 Sβ°-thal) attending the Hematology Clinic of Kuwait University Teaching Hospital for the MTHFR mutation, using a PCR-RFLP method. The patients were aged 2-41 years (mean of 12.8 ± 8.6). One (2.4%) individual was homozygous for the mutation while 15 (36.6%) were heterozygous, giving an allele frequency of 20.7%. Twenty-one patients (14 SS and 7 Sβ°-thal) were screened for osteonecrosis using MRI of the hip (spin-echo T1- and T2-weighted images). Seven (33.3%) had varying degrees of osteonecrosis, among whom the frequency of the 677 C→T allele was 21.4%. The frequency was identical among those without osteonecrosis. Although the allele frequency is higher among our patients compared to American SS patients, our results do not suggest an association with osteonecrosis.
- Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase
- Sickle cell disease
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