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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Adult and Senior Health Acanthocytosis


Acanthocytes or spur cells are spiculated red blood cells with projections at surface of the cell. The cells are contracted, dense, and irregular. The appearance and morphology of the acanthocytes is more or less same the only thing which differs is the underlying disease which had lead to the Acanthocytosis.

 So, Acanthocytosis is not specifically a disease but it is a symptom of the underlying disease. Red Blood Cells will convert in the acanthocytes if the lipid contents of the cellular matrix are altered or if the cellular membrane which encircles the cell loses its fluidity. Sometimes the term acanthocytes is also used for the structures which are found inside the hyphae of certain fungi. The condition is associated with various underlying diseases but the most frequently encountered one are Abetalipoproteinemia and severe hemolytic anemia especially those related with the liver diseases.

Other conditions demonstrating Acanthocytosis

  • Neuroacanthocytosis
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Severe Malnutrition
  • Infantile Pyknocytosis
  • McLeod Syndrome
  • Lutheran phenotypes of blood group are more susceptible
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Idiopathic Neonatal Hepatitis
  • Myxedema
  • Alcoholism
  • Congestive Splenomegaly
  • Hypolipobetaprotienemia
  • Zieve syndrome
  • Chronic granulomatous diseases

Patients may have variable symptoms depending upon the nature of the underlying disease. The condition has no sexual predominance and it affects all races equally.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Pallor

  • Jaundice
  • Severe bleeding both external and internal which is uncontrolled
  • Nystagmus
  • Ophtahlmoplegia
  • Cataract
  • Fatigue
  • Cold intolerance
  • Chorea
  • Decreased muscle strength
  • Loss of deep tendon reflexes
  • Edema
  • Frequent skin Infections
  • Spider angiomas
  • Kyphoscoliosis

Treatment of the condition will depend upon the underlying disease and the treatment of the underlying disease. Once the underlying condition is figured out and the treatment is started on the line of the illness than it is possible that the condition may revert back and Red Blood Cells may revert back to their normal shape and size.