Sickle cell anaemia – Mnemonic

Sickle cell anaemia Scanning electron micrograph showing sickle cells in the midst of normal RBC’s

  • Sickle cell anaemia is a condition in which the red blood cells assume an abnormal rigid sickle shape
  • There is decrease in flexibility of the red cells, which impair their ability to flow freely through blood capillaries
  • It can result in conditions like vaso occlusive crisis, splenic sequestration crisis, aplastic crisis, haemolytic crisis
  • It is an autosomal recessive condition

Sickle cell anaemia – Mnemonic

  • Sickle cell anaemia occurs due to the replacement of hydrophilic amino acid glutamic acid with hydrophobic amino acid valine at the 6th position of the beta globin chain of haemoglobin
  • The inclusion of the hydrophobic ( non polar ) amino acid promotes non covalent polymerisation of haemoglobin resulting in distortion of the RBC’s into a sickle shape
  • So, how to remember the amino acids involved?
  • Just remember this memory key – The Villain replaced the Good guy
  • The Villain is Valine
  • The Good guy is Glutamic acid
  • So you will in turn remember that Valine replaces Glutamic acid

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