Annals of hematology

Hydroxycarbamide modulates components involved in the regulation of adenosine levels in blood cells from sickle-cell anemia patients.

PMID 24696091


Recent studies have demonstrated the role of adenosine (ADO) in sickle-cell anemia (SCA). ADO is produced by CD39 and CD73 and converted to inosine by adenosine deaminase (ADA). We evaluated the effects of hydroxycarbamide (HU) treatment on the modulation of adenosine levels in SCA patients. The expressions of CD39, CD73, and CD26 were evaluated by flow cytometry on blood cells in 15 HU-treated and 17 untreated patients and 10 healthy individuals. RNA was extracted from monocytes, and ADA gene expression was quantified by real-time PCR. ADA activity was also evaluated. We found that ADA transcripts were two times higher in monocytes of HU-treated patients, compared with untreated (P = 0.039). Monocytes of HU-treated patients expressed CD26, while monocytes of controls and untreated patients did not (P = 0.023). In treated patients, a lower percentage of T lymphocytes expressed CD39 compared with untreated (P = 0.003), and the percentage of T regulatory (Treg) cells was reduced in the treated group compared with untreated (P = 0.017) and controls (P = 0.0009). Besides, HU-treated patients displayed increased ADA activity, compared with untreated. Our results indicate a novel mechanism of action of HU mediated by the reduction of adenosine levels and its effects on pathophysiological processes in SCA.