Red cell pyruvate kinase deficiency: From genetics to clinical manifestations

Alberto Zanella, Paola Bianchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pyruvate kinase deficiency is the most frequent enzyme abnormality of the Embden-Meyerhof pathway causing hereditary non-spherocytic haemolytic anaemia. The degree of haemolysis varies widely, ranging from very mild or fully compensated forms, to life-threatening neonatal anaemia and jaundice necessitating exchange transfusions. Splenectomy should be reserved for young patients who require regular blood transfusions. The gene encoding for pyruvate kinase (PK-LR) has been localized to the long arm of chromosome I; the cDNA of R-type is 2060 bp long and codes for 574 amino acids. More than 130 different mutations, mostly missense, have so far been described in association with PK deficiency, 1529A and 1456T being considered to be the most common mutations in Caucasians. Analysis of the three-dimensional structure of the enzyme may help in predicting the severity of the molecular defect. Further data on clinical features of homozygous patients are needed, at least for some mutations, to allow a more precise genotype/phenotype correlation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-81
Number of pages25
JournalBest Practice and Research: Clinical Haematology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Glycolysis
  • Haemolytic anaemia
  • PK-LR gene
  • Pyruvate kinase deficiency
  • Red cell enzymes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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