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Immune-mediated hemolytic anemia.

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Duke University, Department of Medicine, Durham, NC 27707, USA.


Hemolytic anemia due to immune function is one of the major causes of acquired hemolytic anemia. In recent years, as more is known about the immune system, these entities have become better understood and their treatment improved. In this section, we will discuss three areas in which this progress has been apparent. In Section I, Dr. Peter Hillmen outlines the recent findings in the pathogenesis of paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), relating the biochemical defect (the lack of glycosylphosphatidylinositol [GPI]-linked proteins on the cell surface) to the clinical manifestations, particularly hemolysis (and its effects) and thrombosis. He discusses the pathogenesis of the disorder in the face of marrow dysfunction insofar as it is known. His major emphasis is on innovative therapies that are designed to decrease the effectiveness of complement activation, since the lack of cellular modulation of this system is the primary cause of the pathology of the disease. He recounts his considerable experience with a humanized monoclonal antibody against C5, which has a remarkable effect in controlling the manifestations of the disease. Other means of controlling the action of complement include replacing the missing modulatory proteins on the cell surface; these studies are not as developed as the former agent. In Section II, Dr. Alan Schreiber describes the biochemistry, genetics, and function of the Fc gamma receptors and their role in the pathobiology of autoimmune hemolytic anemia and idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura due to IgG antibodies. He outlines the complex varieties of these molecules, showing how they vary in genetic origin and in function. These variations can be related to three-dimensional topography, which is known in some detail. Liganding IgG results in the transduction of a signal through the tyrosine-based activation motif and Syk signaling. The role of these receptors in the pathogenesis of hematological diseases due to IgG antibodies is outlined and the potential of therapy of these diseases by regulation of these receptors is discussed. In Section III, Dr. Wendell Rosse discusses the forms of autoimmune hemolytic anemia characterized by antibodies that react preferentially in the cold-cold agglutinin disease and paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria (PCH). The former is due to IgM antibodies with a common but particular structure that reacts primarily with carbohydrate or carbohydrate-containing antigens, an interaction that is diminished at body temperature. PCH is a less common but probably underdiagnosed illness due to an IgG antibody reacting with a carbohydrate antigen; improved techniques for the diagnosis of PCH are described. Therapy for the two disorders differs somewhat because of the differences in isotype of the antibody. Since the hemolysis in both is primarily due to complement activation, the potential role of its control, as by the monoclonal antibody described by Dr. Hillmen, is discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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