The influence of the hemoglobin (Hgb) phenotype on mean erythrocyte volume was re-examined in the light of recent evidence indicating a poor correlation between manual and more precise automated methods of measurements. The present studies identified a 17.6% frequency of microcytosis in a population of nonanemic black males, a value higher than previously appreciated. In addition, it was shown that the frequency of microcytosis was also a function of the Hgb phenotype. Thus, 9.4% of Hgb AA, 18.6% of AS and 26.5% of AC subjects had microcytic erythrocytes. The data presented are consistent with the hypothesis that both the α-gene complement and the β-chain phenotype contribute to the erythrocytic mean corpuscular volume and that the frequency of microcytosis in a patient population is a function of both of these variables.
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