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Pyruvate kinase deficiency
Classification and external resources

ICD-10 D55.2
ICD-9 282.3
OMIM 266200
DiseasesDB 11090
MedlinePlus 001197
eMedicine med/1980

Pyruvate kinase deficiency, also called erythrocyte pyruvate kinase deficiency,[1] is an inherited metabolic disorder of the enzyme pyruvate kinase which affects the survival of red blood cells and causes them to deform into echinocytes on peripheral blood smears.

Both autosomal dominant[2] and recessive[3] inheritance have been observed with the disorder; classically, and more commonly, the inheritance is autosomal recessive.

Pyruvate kinase deficiency is the second most common cause of enzyme-deficient hemolytic anemia, following G6PD deficiency.



A variety of mutations can lead to lowered production, activity, or stability of pyruvate kinase, an enzyme essential to glycolysis. A total lack of this enzyme's activity will be lethal.


Erythrocytes manufacture ATP through glycolysis. A deficiency in pyruvate kinase, the enzyme that potentiates the last step of glycolysis (phosphoenolpyruvate converted to pyruvate), results in red blood cells (RBCs) with decreased energy.

The events leading to hemolysis are still not well understood, but it seems that the lack of ATP impairs the Na+/K+-ATPase and other ATP dependent processes leading to a cellular loss of K+ and water. This causes rigidity of the RBC and eventual splenic hemolysis[4].

The buildup of reaction intermediates can also increase the level of 2,3-bisphosphoglycerate (2,3 BPG) in the cells and affect tissue oxygenation. This will cause a "right shift" in the hemoglobin oxygen saturation curve, implying a decreased oxygen affinity for the hemoglobin and earlier oxygen unloading than under normal conditions.


The lysis of the RBCs leads to hemolytic anemia and may cause jaundice from increased bilirubin.


Most affected individuals do not require treatment. Individuals who are most severely affected may die in utero of anemia or may require blood transfusions or splenectomy, but most of the symptomatology is limited to early life and times of physiologic stress or infection.

Treatment can include a blood transfusion or removal of the spleen. Treatment is usually effective in reducing the severity of the symptoms.


  1. ^ Online 'Mendelian Inheritance in Man' (OMIM) 266200
  2. ^ Etiemble, J; Picat, C; Dhermy, D; Buc, Ha; Morin, M; Boivin, P (October 1984). "Erythrocytic pyruvate kinase deficiency and hemolytic anemia inherited as a dominant trait". American journal of hematology 17 (3): 251–60. doi:10.1002/ajh.2830170305. ISSN 0361-8609. PMID 6475936. 
  3. ^ Carey, Pj; Chandler, J; Hendrick, A; Reid, Mm; Saunders, Pw; Tinegate, H; Taylor, Pr; West, N (1 December 2000). "Prevalence of pyruvate kinase deficiency in northern European population in the north of England. Northern Region Haematologists Group" (Free full text). Blood 96 (12): 4005–6. ISSN 0006-4971. PMID 11186276. 
  4. ^ Bailliere's Clinical Haematology, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp. 57±81, 2000

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