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Acanthocytosis Characteristics and Features

Acanthocytes are also seen in neuroacanthocytosis, states of malnutrition, anorexia nervosa and infantile pyknocytosis. It is also evident in neonatal hepatitis, hypothyroidism, hemolysis, spherocytosis, and also congestive splenomegaly. Conditions could also include homozygous familial hypobetalipoproteinemia, acute granulomatous disease and Zieve syndrome. Physical defects could include pallor or jaundice; the eyes could also be affected by cataract, progressive exotropia, loss of vision during the night, etc. When it comes to the digestive system, the issues include abdominal distention, hepatomegaly, splenomegaly, and ascites. Edema and muscular atrophy are also common signs.

Acanthocytosis Definition

Acanthocytosis is a phenotype of the red cell which can be found in different fundamental conditions. Bassen-Kornzweig syndrome or Abetalipoproteinemia; and an acute disease of the liver (spur cell hemolytic anemia) are the most common conditions that can be associated with acanthocytosis. Acantha is a Greek word for thorn and it is fitting that it is given to name the spur cells that have projections of different sizes which are the acanthocytes. These cells appear to be contracted, irregular, and dense. The formation of these cells depends on the alteration of the fat composition and the fluidity of red cell's membrane.

Acanthocytosis Frequency

Globally, acanthocytosis is still a rare disease. Acanthocytes can be found in 50-90% of cellular peripheral blood smears in abetalipoproteinemia. This is a rare autosomal recessive disease with approximately just 100 cases worldwide. A complication called hepatotoxic or hepatic disorder is rare, too. It occurs only in patients with cirrhosis caused by severe alcoholism (about 10-30% of alcoholic patients and approximately 10 million in the whole of United States.

Acanthocytosis Mortality/Morbidity

The mortality rate of acanthocytosis caused by abetalipoproteinemia is still not fully described by any studies. The rarity of the illness could account for the limited amount of information. The patient could spend a normal life span and the prognosis is very favorable. All the patient needs to do is to have a daily dose of vitamins and other dietary supplements to keep him healthy. Also, early diagnosis of the illness would help in the treatment of the condition. The only complication that could lead to death is when the liver suffers from acute dysfunction. This condition can have a higher risk for mortality. 65% of neonatal hepatitis patients can be treated in about a few weeks to just a few months. Malnutrition could easily be resolved with proper diet.

Acanthocytosis Race

All ethnic races have had their share of acanthocytosis.

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