Inherited aplastic anaemia
Inherited aplastic anemia
Aplastic anemia is considered inherited when it is caused by gene mutations (abnormal copies of genes) that have been passed on from the parents to their child. Inherited aplastic anemia is more common in children and young adults.
Another inherited cause of aplastic anemia is called dyskeratosis congenita (DC). Defects in some of the genes that help protect the chromosomes cause this disease. The chromosomes in our cells are fitted with caps at each end called telomeres. These caps help protect the ends of the chromosomes from being damaged. Telomerase is the protein that maintains the telomeres. Two different genes, called TERC and TERT, are needed to make telomerase. An abnormal copy of either one of these genes can cause DC. Another gene, DKC1, makes a protein called dyskerin that is needed for telomerase to work. Abnormalities in this gene also cause DC. Symptoms of this disorder include abnormal skin pigmentation, abnormal nails, and white patches in the mouth (called leukoplakia). People with this problem have a high risk of developing aplastic anemia and certain cancers, such as cancer of the mouth and throat and cancer of the anus. Some people are only diagnosed with DC when they come in with aplastic anemia and are found to have abnormal telomerase genes. These people may not have any of the other signs or symptoms of DC.
Other causes of inherited aplastic anemia
Another cause of inherited aplastic anemia is called the Diamond-Blackfan syndrome. In this disease, red blood cells are low, but the number of other blood cells is normal.
A fourth disorder is the Shwachman-Diamond syndrome, which is caused by abnormal copies of a gene called SDS. Here, the major problem is poor production of white blood cells, although the other cell lines can also be abnormal. In both of these, patients will often have other problems such as short stature and other bone abnormalities.
Added April 2013