Molecular analysis of complex cases of alpha- and beta-thalassemia in Mexican mestizo patients with microcytosis and hypochromia reveals two novel alpha(0) -thalassemia deletions - -(Mex1) and - -(Mex2)

Int J Lab Hematol. 2016 Oct;38(5):535-42. doi: 10.1111/ijlh.12536. Epub 2016 Jun 24.


Introduction: Alpha-thalassemia (α-thal) is a common monogenic disorder worldwide. In mixed ethnic populations, α-thal and beta-thalassemia (β-thal) can be expected, sometimes giving complex phenotypes, which without molecular analysis are not easily explained. We performed the molecular identification of α- and β-thal alleles in 51 Mexican patients with microcytosis, hypochromia, and normal or low levels of HbA2 .

Methods: Common deletional alleles (-α(3.7) , -α(4.2) , - -(SEA) , - -(MED) , - -(FIL) , - -(THAI) , -α(20.5) ) and α-triplication were studied by gap-PCR and nondeletional alleles (α(IVSI) ((-5nt)) , α2 (NcoI) , α1 (NcoI) ) by ARMS. β-thal alleles Cd39 (C>T), IVS1:1 (G>A), IVS1:110 (G>A), and Spanish δβ-thal were also investigated. DNA sequencing was performed on HBA2, HBA1, and HBB genes. Negative samples were subjected to MLPA.

Results: In 35 subjects, we identified the mutations, -α(3.7) , - -(SEA) , - -(FIL) , α(IVSI) ((-5nt)) , and ααα(anti3.7) and two novel deletion alleles - -(Mex1) (6.8-8.9 kb) and - -(Mex2) (77.6-135.7 kb). Four individuals also had a β-thal allele (Cd39/IVS1:110). No α-thal alleles were observed in 16 subjects, but three had a β-thal mutation Cd39, IVS1:110, and Spanish δβ-thal.

Conclusion: α-thal is relatively common in Mexican patients, the combination with β-thal is sometimes unexpected, and this underlines the importance of performing molecular analysis for both α- and β-genes defects in patients showing microcytic hypochromic anemia.

Keywords: alpha-globin deletion; complex α- and β-thalassemia genotypes; microcytosis.

MeSH terms

  • Alleles*
  • Anemia, Hypochromic / genetics*
  • Base Sequence*
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin / genetics*
  • Hemoglobins, Abnormal / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mexico
  • Sequence Deletion*
  • alpha-Thalassemia / genetics*
  • beta-Thalassemia / genetics*


  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Hemoglobins, Abnormal