RHCE diversity among Brazilian patients with sickle cell disease (SCD) and selected groups of blood donors


Several centers have selected Black donors to prevent Rh alloimmunization of patients with sickle cell disease (SCD). As the Brazilian population is considered very admixed and race definition by self-declaration is questionable, this study aimed to compare RHCE diversity among patients with SCD and selected groups of Brazilian blood donors to define which group of donors would be the adequate red cell supply for patients with SCD.


We compared RHCE allele frequencies between patients with SCD and four groups of Brazilian blood donors: self-declared Black donors (SDB), donors with predominant African genetic markers (AAM), donors with weak D expression (WDD), and random donors (RDs). Variant RHCE alleles were identified using molecular protocols.


Among patients with SCD, 47% had at least one variant RHCE, in SDB and WDD this frequency was higher, 53% and 58.6%, respectively. In AAM and in RD the frequencies were 32% and 27.6%, respectively. In patients with SCD and SDB, the most common alleles were RHCE*ce.01, RHCE*ceVS.01, and RHCE*ceVS.02. WDD had a high frequency of RHCE*ceAR and highest frequency of variant RHCE in both alleles, followed by patients with SCD and SDB.


This study showed that even in an admixed population the selection of SDB donors is the best choice of matching for transfusion support in patients with SCD. For specific RHCE alleles, selection of donors with weak D expression could be a good option.