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Blood. 2007 Sep 15;110(6):2190-2. Epub 2007 Jun 6.

Factor H mediated cell surface protection from complement is critical for the survival of PNH erythrocytes.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Center for Biomedical Research, University of Texas Health Science Center, Tyler, TX 75708, USA.


Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) cells are partially (type II) or completely (type III) deficient in GPI-linked complement regulatory proteins CD59 and CD55. PNH III erythrocytes circulate 6 to 60 days in vivo. Why these cells are not lysed as rapidly by complement as unprotected foreign cells, which normally lyse within minutes, remains undetermined. Factor H plays a key role in the homeostasis of complement in fluid phase and on cell surfaces. We have recently shown that a recombinant protein encompassing the C-terminus of factor H (rH19-20) specifically blocks cell-surface complement regulatory functions of factor H without affecting fluid-phase control of complement. Here we show that PNH II and III cells become highly susceptible to complement-mediated lysis by nonacidified normal human serum in vitro, when the cell surface complement-regulatory functions of factor H are blocked. The results indicate that cells deficient in surface-bound regulators are protected for extended periods of time by factor H.

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