Disorders of the erythrocyte membrane

  • Sophia Delicou | sophiadelicou@gmail.com Thalassemia and Transfusion Unit, Hippokrateio Hospital, Athens, Greece.
  • Aikaterini Xydaki Thalassemia and Transfusion Unit, Hippokrateio Hospital, Athens, Greece.
  • Chryssanthi Kontaxi Thalassemia and Transfusion Unit, Hippokrateio Hospital, Athens, Greece.
  • Konstantinos Maragkos Thalassemia and Transfusion Unit, Hippokrateio Hospital, Athens, Greece.

Abstract

Hemolytic anemia due to abnormalities of the erythrocyte membrane comprises an important group of inherited disorders. These include hereditary spherocytosis, hereditary elliptocytosis, hereditary pyropoikilocytosis, and the hereditary stomatocytosis syndromes. The erythrocyte membrane skeleton composed of spectrin, actin, and several other proteins is essential for the maintenance of the erythrocyte shape, reversible deformability, and membrane structural integrity in addition to controlling the lateral mobility of integral membrane proteins. These disorders are characterized by clinical and laboratory heterogeneity and, as evidenced by recent molecular studies, by genetic heterogeneity. Defects in various proteins involved in linking the lipid bilayer to membrane skeleton result in loss in membrane cohesion leading to surface area loss and hereditary spherocytosis while defects in proteins involved in lateral interactions of the spectrin-based skeleton lead to decreased mechanical stability, membrane fragmentation and hereditary elliptocytosis. The disease severity is primarily dependent on the extent of membrane surface area loss. Treatment with splenectomy is curative in most patients.

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Published
2015-12-15
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Reviews
Keywords:
Hemolytic anemia, hereditary spherocytosis, hereditary elliptocytosis, hereditary pyropoikilocytosis, hereditary stomatocytosis.
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How to Cite
Delicou, S., Xydaki, A., Kontaxi, C., & Maragkos, K. (2015). Disorders of the erythrocyte membrane. Italian Journal of Medicine, 9(4), 323-329. https://doi.org/10.4081/itjm.2015.470