, Volume 92, Issue 3, pp 425-431
Date: 17 Sep 2010

Hereditary sideroblastic anemia: pathophysiology and gene mutations

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Abstract

Sideroblastic anemia is characterized by anemia with the emergence of ring sideroblasts in the bone marrow. Ring sideroblasts are erythroblasts characterized by iron accumulation in perinuclear mitochondria due to impaired iron utilization. There are two forms of sideroblastic anemia, i.e., inherited and acquired sideroblastic anemia. Inherited sideroblastic anemia is a rare and heterogeneous disease caused by mutations of genes involved in heme biosynthesis, iron–sulfur (Fe–S) cluster biogenesis, or Fe–S cluster transport, and mitochondrial metabolism. The most common inherited sideroblastic anemia is X-linked sideroblastic anemia (XLSA) caused by mutations of the erythroid-specific δ-aminolevulinate synthase gene (ALAS2), which is the first enzyme of heme biosynthesis in erythroid cells. Sideroblastic anemia due to SLC25A38 gene mutations, which is a mitochondrial transporter, is the next most common inherited sideroblastic anemia. Other forms of inherited sideroblastic anemia are very rare, and accompanied by impaired function of organs other than hematopoietic tissue, such as the nervous system, muscle, or exocrine glands due to impaired mitochondrial metabolism. Moreover, there are still significant numbers of cases with genetically undefined inherited sideroblastic anemia. Molecular analysis of these cases will contribute not only to the development of effective treatment, but also to the understanding of mitochondrial iron metabolism.