We estimated plasma GM-CSF levels in a group of 28 steady-state sickle cell anemia (SS) patients in Kuwait, using an ELISA technique. There were 24 age-matched Hb AA controls, 14 of whom were healthy while 10 were acutely ill at the time of the study. Five SS patients were also studied during 6 episodes of painful crisis. Among the SS patients, 82.1% were homozygous for the Saudi Arabia/India (SAI) haplotype with Hb F ranging from 15 to 35% and total Hb from 8.5 to 11 g/dl. Three patients (siblings) were SAI/Benin compound heterozygotes with Hb F of 9–23% and total Hb >10 g/dl. One patient each was homozygous for the Benin or the Bantu haplotype; they had Hb F <2% and total Hb of 6.6 and 7.2 g/dl, respectively. Four (14.3%) steady-state SS patients had detectable plasma GM-CSF ranging from 75 to 1,817.6 pg/ml. These included the 2 patients with Hb F <2.0% and 2 with the SAI/Benin compound heterozygotes with Hb F of 11 and 9%, respectively. Four (66.7%) SS patients in crisis, 6 (42.9%) healthy controls and 6 (60%) acutely ill controls had detectable plasma GM-CSF. A clearcut association of GM-CSF with Hb F level or degree of anemia in steady-state SS patients could not be established. The appearance of GM-CSF in the plasma of patients in crisis and also among control subjects raises the possibility that other factors are involved in the production of this cytokine in the subjects studied.

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