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Sickle cell disease, growth, puberty, spermatogenesis, hydroxyurea, treatment
Sickle cell disease (SCD) is traditionally associated with growth failure and delayed puberty. Wasting and stunting are still prevalent in children and adolescents with SCD, especially in developing countries. In addition, sperm abnormalities are frequent in males with SCD, with high rates of low sperm density, low sperm counts, poor motility, and increased abnormal morphology. Severe anaemia, vaso-occlusive attacks with ischemic injury to different organs including the pituitary gland and testis, and nutritional factors are incriminated in the pathogenesis of defective growth, puberty, and spermatogenesis. There is great phenotypic variability among patients with SCD. The variability in the clinical severity of SCD can partly be explained by genetic modifiers, including HbF level and co-inheritance of α-thalassaemia. In the past, severe disease led to early mortality. Advancements in treatment have allowed patients with SCD to have a longer and better quality of life. For most patients, the mainstays of treatment are preventive and supportive. For those with severe SCD, three major therapeutic options are currently available: erythrocyte transfusion or exchange, hydroxyurea and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. In this mini review the authors tried to recognize, delineate, and update knowledge on abnormalities due to SCD from those created by the use of different treatment modalities. (www.actabiomedica.it)
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