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Med Princ Pract 2005;14:2–14

Megaloblastosis: From Morphos to Molecules

Das K.C.a · Das M.b · Mohanty D.b · Jadaon M.M.a · Gupta A.a · Marouf R.a · Easow S.K.a
aHematology Unit, Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Kuwait University, Kuwait; bInstitute of Immunohematology, Mumbai, India
email Corresponding Author

 goto top of outline Key Words

  • Megaloblastosis
  • Electron microscopy
  • Chromosomal despiralization
  • Autoradiography
  • 3H-thymidine incorporation
  • DNA synthesis
  • Deoxyuridine suppression test
  • Histone biosynthesis

 goto top of outline Abstract

Objective: Megaloblastosis (i.e., megaloblastic transformation of erythroid precursor cells in the bone marrow) is the cytomorphological hallmark of megaloblastic anemia resulting from vitamin B12 and folate deficiency. It is characterized by a finely stippled lacy pattern of nuclear chromatin, which is believed to be an expression of deranged cellular DNA synthesis. However, the molecular basis of these cytomorphological aberrations still remains obscure. The current presentation describes the results of our studies on some molecular events associated with the development of megaloblastosis. Methods: Transmission electron microscopy was used to study megaloblasts as well as DNA fibers extracted from megaloblastic and normoblastic bone marrows with and without treatment with proteinase K during the extraction procedure; cellular DNA synthesis in bone marrow cultures was studied by incorporation of 3H-thymidine and deoxyuridine suppression test, while histone biosynthesis in bone marrow cells was studied by in vitro incorporation of 3H-tryptophan, 3H-lysine and 3H-arginine into histones. Results: Derangement of DNA synthesis occurred due to an impaired de novo pathway of thymidylate synthesis in both vitamin-B12- and folate-deficient human megaloblastic bone marrows as well as in the bone marrows of rhesus monkeys and rats with experimentally induced folate deficiency. Interestingly, folate-deficient monkeys developed frank megaloblastic bone marrows, but folate-deficient rats did not. On the other hand, megaloblastic changes in the bone marrow of human patients with myelodysplastic syndrome and erythroleukemia were not associated with this DNA synthetic abnormality. Biosynthesis of predominantly arginine-rich histones in megaloblastic bone marrows was markedly reduced as compared to normoblastic bone marrows, which was consistently associated with elongation and despiralization of chromosomes and finely stippled nuclear chromatin in megaloblasts. Conclusion: The impaired biosynthesis of predominantly arginine-rich nuclear histones appeared to be a common molecular event (a denominator) underlying the development of megaloblastosis with or without abnormal DNA synthesis.

Copyright © 2005 S. Karger AG, Basel

 goto top of outline References
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 goto top of outline Author Contacts

Dr. K.C. Das
Hematology Unit, Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Kuwait University
PO Box 24923, 13110 Safat (Kuwait)
Tel. +965 531 9476, Fax +965 533 8905

 goto top of outline Article Information

Received: August 15, 2004
Revised: October 25, 2004
Published online: July 09, 2008
Number of Print Pages : 13
Number of Figures : 9, Number of Tables : 6, Number of References : 40

 goto top of outline Publication Details

Medical Principles and Practice (International Journal of the Kuwait University Health Sciences Centre)

Vol. 14, No. Suppl. 1, Year 2005 (Cover Date: Released July 2005)

Journal Editor: Al Awadi, F. (Kuwait)
ISSN: 1011–7571 (Print), eISSN: 1423–0151 (Online)

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