Volume 8, Issue 7
Article number e68307
Based upon the lack of clinical samples available for research in many laboratories worldwide, a significant gap exists between basic and clinical studies of beta-thalassemia major. To bridge this gap, we developed an artificially engineered model for human beta thalassemia by knocking down beta-globin gene and protein expression in cultured CD34+ cells obtained from healthy adults. Lentiviral-mediated transduction of beta-globin shRNA (beta-KD) caused imbalanced globin chain production. Beta-globin mRNA was reduced by 90% compared to controls, while alpha-globin mRNA levels were maintained. HPLC analyses revealed a 96% reduction in HbA with only a minor increase in HbF. During the terminal phases of differentiation (culture days 14–21), beta-KD cells demonstrated increased levels of insoluble alpha-globin, as well as activated caspase-3. The majority of the beta-KD cells underwent apoptosis around the polychromatophilic stage of maturation. GDF15, a marker of ineffective erythropoiesis in humans with thalassemia, was significantly increased in the culture supernatants from the beta-KD cells. Knockdown of beta-globin expression in cultured primary human erythroblasts provides a robust ex vivo model for beta-thalassemia.
Lee, Y.T., Kim, K.S., Byrnes, C., de Vasconcellos, J.F., Noh ,S-J., et al. (2013) A Synthetic Model of Human Beta-Thalassemia Erythropoiesis Using CD34+ Cells from Healthy Adult Donors. PLoS ONE 8(7): e68307.