Efficacy of ruxolitinib as inducer of fetal hemoglobin in primary erythroid cultures from sickle cell and beta-thalassemia patients

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Alice Pecoraro *
Antonio Troia
Aurelio Maggio
Rosalba Di Marzo
(*) Corresponding Author:
Alice Pecoraro | a.pecoraro@ospedaliriunitipalermo.it

Abstract

High levels of HbF may ameliorate the clinical course of β-thalassaemia and SCD. Hydroxyurea (HU) is the only HbF inducer approved for the treatment of patients. However not all patients respond to the treatment, for this reason it is noteworthy to identify new HbF inducers. Ruxolitinib is a JAK inhibitor that decreases the phosphorilation of STAT proteins. In particular STAT3 is a repressor of gamma-globin gene. The decrease of STAT3 phosphorilation could derepress gamma-globin gene and reactivate its trascription. In this study we evaluated the efficacy of ruxolitinib as inducer of HbF production. The analyses were performed in cultured erythroid progenitors from 16 beta-thalassemia intermedia (TI) and 4 sickle cell disease (SCD) patients. The use of quantitative RT-PCR technique allowed us to determine the increase of gamma-globin mRNA expression in human erythroid cultured cells treated with ruxolitinib. The results of our study demonstrated an increase in vitro of gamma-globin mRNA expression in almost all patients. These data suggest that ruxolitinib could be a good candidate to be used in vivo for the treatment of hemoglobinopathies.


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