Could heterozygous beta thalassemia provide protection against multiple sclerosis?
AuthorÇıkrıkçıoğlu, Mehmet Ali
Özcan, Muhammed Emin
Eser, Elif Ece
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Background: Heterozygous beta thalassemia (HBT) has been proposed to increase the risk of developing autoimmune disease. Our aim in this study was to examine the prevalence of HBT among multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. Material/Methods: HBT frequency was investigated in our MS group (243 patients with MS). Hemoglobin electrophoresis (HE) was carried out if MS patients had a mean corpuscular volume of (MCV) <80 fL and a mean corpuscular hemoglobin level of (MCH) <27 pg/L according to a complete blood count (CBC). If MCV was lower than 80 fL, MCH was lower than 27 pg/L, and Hemoglobin A2 equal to or higher than 3.5%, a diagnosis of HBT was established. The frequency of patients with HBT in our MS patient group was statistically compared with the prevalence of HBT in the city of Istanbul, where our MS patients lived. Results: The HBT prevalence was 0.823% (2 patients) in the MS patient group. The prevalence of HBT in Istanbul has been reported to be 4.5%. According to the z-test, the HBT prevalence in our MS patient group was significantly lower than that in Istanbul (Z=6.3611, two-sided p value <0.0001, 95% confidence interval of prevalence of HBT in our MS patient group: 0.000998-0.029413). Conclusions: Contrary to our hypothesis at the outset of study, the reduced HBT prevalence in the MS group compared to HBT frequency in the city of Istanbul might indicate that HBT is protective against MS.