Stable mixed hematopoietic chimerism after bone marrow transplantation for sickle cell anemia

Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2001;7(12):665-73. doi: 10.1053/bbmt.2001.v7.pm11787529.


A multicenter investigation of allogeneic bone marrow transplantation for children with sickle cell disease was conducted that included 27 European and North American transplant centers. Fifty-nine patients who ranged in age from 3.3 to 15.9 years (median, 10.1 years) received HLA-identical sibling marrow allografts between September 1991 and April 2000. Fifty-five patients survive, and 50 survive free from sickle cell disease, with a median follow-up of 42.2 months (range, 11.8 to 115 months) after transplantation. Of the 50 patients with successful allografts, 13 developed stable mixed donor-host hematopoietic chimerism. The level of donor chimerism, measured > or =6 months after transplantation in peripheral blood, varied between 90% and 99% in 8 patients. Five additional patients had a lower proportion of donor cells (range, 11% to 74%). Among these 5 patients, hemoglobin levels varied between 11.2 and 14.2 g/dL (median, 11.3 g/dL; mean, 12.0 g/dL). In patients who had donors with a normal hemoglobin genotype (Hb), the Hb S fractions were 0%, 0%, and 7%, corresponding to donor chimerism levels of 67%, 74%, and 11%, respectively. Among patients who had donors with sickle trait, the Hb S fractions were 36% and 37%, corresponding to donor chimerism levels of 25% and 60%, respectively. Thus, allograft recipients with stable mixed chimerism had Rb S levels similar to donor levels, and only 1 patient required a red blood cell transfusion beyond 90 days posttransplantation. None of the patients have experienced painful events or other clinical complications related to sickle cell disease after transplantation. These observations strongly suggest that patients with sickle cell disease who develop persistent mixed hematopoietic chimerism after transplantation experience a significant ameliorative effect.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anemia, Sickle Cell / therapy*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / administration & dosage
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation* / immunology
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation* / methods*
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation* / mortality
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Graft Survival
  • Hematopoiesis*
  • Hemoglobin, Sickle / analysis
  • Hemoglobins / analysis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Tissue Donors
  • Transplantation Chimera*
  • Transplantation, Isogeneic
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Hemoglobin, Sickle
  • Hemoglobins