Gene expression profiles of erythroid precursors characterise several mechanisms of the action of hydroxycarbamide in sickle cell anaemia


Fernando F. Costa, Rua. Carlos Chagas, 480 – Cidade Universitária, Barão Geraldo, Campinas, SP 13083-970, Brazil.


Hydroxycarbamide (HC) (or hydroxyurea) has been reported to increase fetal haemoglobin levels and improve clinical symptoms in sickle cell anaemia (SCA) patients. However, the complete pathway by which HC acts remains unclear. To study the mechanisms involved in the action of HC, global gene expression profiles were obtained from the bone marrow cells of a SCA patient before and after HC treatment using serial analysis of gene expression. In the comparison of both profiles, 147 differentially expressed transcripts were identified. The functional classification of these transcripts revealed a group of gene categories associated with transcriptional and translational regulation, e.g. EGR-1, CENTB1, ARHGAP4 and RIN3, suggesting a possible role for these pathways in the improvement of clinical symptoms of SCA patients. The genes involved in these mechanisms may represent potential tools for the identification of new targets for SCA therapy.