Phytomedicines and Nutraceuticals: Alternative Therapeutics for Sickle Cell Anemia

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Imaga, Ngozi Awa
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Hindawi Publishing Corporation
Sickle cell anemia is a genetically inherited disease in which the “SS” individual possesses an abnormal beta globin gene. A single base substitution in the gene encoding the human 𝛽-globin subunit results in replacement of 𝛽6 glutamic acid by valine, leading to the devastating clinical manifestations of sickle cell disease. This substitution causes drastic reduction in the solubility of sickle cell hemoglobin (HbS) when deoxygenated. Under these conditions, the HbS molecules polymerize to form long crystalline intracellular mass of fibers which are responsible for the deformation of the biconcave disc shaped erythrocyte into a sickle shape. First-line clinical management of sickle cell anemia include, use of hydroxyurea, folic acid, amino acids supplementation, penicillinprophylaxis, and antimalarial prophylaxis to manage the condition and blood transfusions to stabilize the patient’s hemoglobin level. These are quite expensive and have attendant risk factors. However, a bright ray of hope involving research into antisickling properties of medicinal plants has been rewarding. This alternative therapy using phytomedicines has proven to not only reduce crisis but also reverse sickling (in vitro). The immense benefits of phytomedicines and nutraceuticals used in the management of sickle cell anemia are discussed in this paper.
Research Subject Categories::NATURAL SCIENCES::Chemistry::Biochemistry , sickle cell anemia
Ngozi Awa Imaga The Scientific World Journal. Vol. 2013 Article II. DOI: 10.1155/2013/269659 PubMed PMID 23476125