Context.-Hemoglobin (Hb) Austin was defined in 1977, using amino acid sequencing of samples from 3 unrelated Mexican-Americans, as a substitution of serine for arginine at position 40 of the b-globin chain (Arg40Ser). Its electrophoretic migration on both cellulose acetate (pH 8.4) and citrate agar (pH 6.2) was reported between Hb F and Hb A, and this description persists in reference literature. Objectives.-To review the clinical features and redefine the diagnostic characteristics of Hb Austin. Design.-Eight samples from 6 unrelated individuals and 2 siblings, all with Hispanic surnames, were submitted for abnormal Hb identification between June 2010 and September 2011. High-performance liquid chromatography, isoelectric focusing (IEF), citrate agar electrophoresis, and bidirectional DNA sequencing of the entire b-globin gene were performed. Results.-DNA sequencing confirmed all 8 individuals to be heterozygous for Hb Austin (Arg40Ser). Retention time on high-performance liquid chromatography and migration on citrate agar electrophoresis were consistent with that identification. Migration on IEF, however, was not between Hb F and Hb A, as predicted from the report of cellulose acetate electrophoresis. By IEF, Hb Austin migrated anodal to (''faster than'') Hb A. Conclusions.-Hemoglobin Austin (Arg40Ser) appears on IEF as a ''fast,'' anodally migrating, Hb variant, just as would be expected from its amino acid substitution. The cited historic report is, at best, not applicable to IEF and is probably erroneous. Our observation of 8 cases in 16 months suggests that this variant may be relatively common in some Hispanic populations, making its recognition important. Furthermore, gene sequencing is proving itself a powerful and reliable tool for definitive identification of Hb variants.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Medical Laboratory Technology