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Br J Haematol. 2000 Nov;111(2):474-81.

Platelet and leucocyte activation in childhood sickle cell disease: association with nocturnal hypoxaemia.

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Portex Unit of Anaesthesia, Intensive Care and Respiratory Medicine, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust, London, UK.

Erratum in

  • Br J Haematol 2001 Mar;112(4):1091.


We hypothesized that vaso-occlusive events in childhood sickle cell disease (SCD) may relate to inflammatory cell activation as well as interactions between sickle erythrocytes and vascular endothelium. Peripheral blood was examined from 24 children with SCD, of whom 12 had neurological sequelae and seven had frequent painful crises, and 10 control subjects. Platelet (CD62P and CD40L expression) and granulocyte (CD11b expression) activation and levels of platelet-erythrocyte and platelet-granulocyte complexes were determined by flow cytometry. Platelets (P = 0.019), neutrophils (P = 0.02) and monocytes (P = 0.001) were more activated and there were increased platelet-erythrocyte complexes (P = 0.026) in SCD patients compared with controls. Platelet-granulocyte complexes were not raised. There were no differences between the different groups of SCD. As hypoxia activates monocytes, platelets and endothelial cells and causes sickling of SCD erythrocytes, we also investigated 20 SCD patients with overnight pulse oximetry. Minimum overnight saturation correlated with the level of platelet-erythrocyte complexes (Spearman's rho -0.668, P < 0.02), neutrophil CD11b (Spearman's rho -0.466, P = 0.038) and monocyte CD11b (Spearman's rho -0.652, P = 0. 002). These findings provide important clues about the mechanism by which SCD patients may become predisposed to vaso-occlusive events.

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