In Britain, there are over 5,000 sickle cell sufferers and more than 150 are born every year. Sickle cell disease is associated with appreciable morbidity in children, adolescents and adults. We have investigated the fatty acid composition of red blood cells and the effect of treatment with n-3 fatty acids on blood parameters.
The results indicate that red cells of sickle cell patients have an abnormal long chain polyunsaturated (n-6 and n-3) fatty acid profile. It also shows that supplementation with n-3 fatty acids exerts a positive benefit on blood viscosity, platelet count, fibrinogen and fatty acid composition of red blood cells and platelets.
Defining fatty acid composition of plasma, red blood cells and platelets of sickle cell patients will identify whether metabolism of fatty acids, or their incorporation into the cells, is the primary defect. Clinical trials with linoleic acid and n-3 fatty acids supplementation is in progress in collaboration with Professor Mustafa Idrin Elbashir at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Khartum, and Sickle Cell Disease Clinic Abna of Paediatric Hospital, Khartoum, Sudan.
Various magnetic resonance imaging techniques such as Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA), Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI), Arterial Spin Labeling (ASL) perfusion, T2 weighted Fast Spin Echo (FSE), Axial T1 weighted Spin Echo, and Time of Flight Angiography (TOF-MRA) are being used to assess the effect of the supplement on haemolysis and vaso-occulusion of the blood vessel in the brain using MAGNETOM Avanto 1.5T (Simens).
The outcome will help to develop a novel therapy to reduce haemolysis, vaso-occulusive events and associated pathogenic complications, incidence of premature birth, maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality.
This work is funded by the FP6 Marie Curie Actions Transfer of Knowledge (MTKD-CT-2005-029914), Efamol Wesson International, and Kitchener Fund.
University of Khartoum, Sudan
MAGNETOM Avanto 1.5T (Siemens)
Magnetic Resonance Angiograph (MRA)
Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI)
Time of Flight Angiograph
Arterial Spin Labeling Perfusion Imaging
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