A similar imbalance of globin chain synthesis, with low non-alpha/alpha ratios, was shown in peripheral blood and in bone marrow of compound heterozygotes for both the Hb S and beta zero thalassaemia genes (S/beta zero thalassaemia). Previous purification of whole cell globin obtained from the bone marrow did not change the non-alpha/alpha ratio. The mean non-alpha/alpha ratios were 0.57 +/- 0.13 (means +/- SD) for the peripheral blood of 12 patients, 0.52 +/- 0.10 for five patients using bone marrow globin purified on Sephadex G100, and 0.55 +/- 0.16 for the unfiltered bone marrow globin of five patients. The data show that patients with S/beta zero thalassaemia have a similar beta chain deficiency in reticulocytes and in bone marrow cells, provided whole cell globin is used which avoids the removal of the free alpha chains. The non-alpha/alpha ratios in the peripheral blood of an S/beta zero thalassaemia patient and a beta thalassaemia heterozygote from the same family were compared in seven families and no significant difference was found.
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