Nitric oxide and zinc levels in sickle cell hemoglobinopathies: a relationship with the markers of disease severity

Anuoluwa Abisola Alaka, Olubunmi Olayemi Alaka, Ayobola Abolape Iyanda


Introduction: Sickle cell disease is a genetically inherited disease affecting millions of people worldwide. Patients with a severe form of the disease present with more complications and endorgan dysfunction.
This study is aimed at determining a relationship between 2 biochemical parameters associated with SCD (i.e. NO and Zn) and disease severity markers such as hematocrit, PF and VOC, with the objective of using NO and/or Zn to better understand the gravity of altered processes of SCD.
Materials and methods: Ninety-eight adult participants of both sexes were recruited for the study and grouped accordingly as HbAA (control), HbSC and HbSS. Questionnaires provided information on PF, frequency of hospitalization, and clinic attendance. Hematocrit, serum NO and Zn were determined using standard techniques. Data were summarized and analyzed using oneway analysis of variance and regression analysis; p ≤ 0.05 was considered significant.
Results: The rates of hospitalization, PF and clinic attendance were higher among HbSS than HbSC. HbAA had significantly higher levels of hematocrit, Zn and NO than HbSS and HbSC. Zinc and hematocrit for HbSS were significantly lower than HbSC but NO was not significantly different. Hematocrit, NO and Zn of patients in steady, VOC and post-VOC states of HbSC and HbSS were significantly different. A significant association was observed between biochemical parameters (NO, Zn) and hematocrit, VOC but not PF.
Conclusion: The study suggests that Zn and NO are lower in SCD compared with control and can be affected by the severity of the disease. Therefore, periodic testing of NO and Zn may be beneficial in identifying patients with a higher risk of developing end organ damage.


nitric oxide; zinc; hematocrit; vaso-occlusive crisis; pain frequency; hospitalization rate; sickle cell disease

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