Hemoglobinopathy gone astray—three novel forms of α-thalassemia in Norwegian patients characterized by quantitative real-time PCR and DNA sequencing
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionScandinavian Journal of Clinical and Laboratory Investigation. 2021, 81 (8), 670-678. https://doi.org/10.1080/00365513.2021.2004218
α-thalassemia is one of the most common monogenic diseases worldwide and is caused by reduced or absent synthesis of α-globin chains, most commonly due to deletions of one or more of the α-globin genes. α-thalassemia occurs with high frequency in tropical and subtropical regions of the world and are very rarely found in the indigenous Scandinavian population. Here, we describe four rare forms of α-thalassemia out of which three are novel, found in together 20 patients of Norwegian origin. The study patients were diagnosed during routine hemoglobinopathy evaluation carried out at the Department of Medical Biochemistry, Oslo University Hospital, Norway. The patients were selected for their thalassemic phenotype, despite Norway as country of origin. All samples went through standard hemoglobinopathy evaluation. DNA sequencing and copy number variation (CNV) analysis using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) was applied to detect sequence variants and uncommon deletions in the α-globin gene cluster, respectively. Deletion breakpoints were characterized using gap-PCR and DNA sequencing. DNA sequencing revealed a single nucleotide deletion in exon 3 of the HBA2 gene (NM_000517.4(HBA2):c.345del) and a novel deletion of 20 nucleotides in exon 2 of the HBA2 gene (NM_000517.4(HBA2):c.142_161del). qPCR CNV analysis detected two novel large deletions in the α-globin gene cluster, –(NOR) deletion covering both α-globin genes and (αα)Aurora Borealis affecting the regulatory region, leaving the downstream α-globin genes intact. Even though inherited globin gene disorders are extremely rare in indigenous Scandinavians, the possibility of a carrier state should not be ignored.