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Br J Haematol. 2009 Aug;146(4):447-55. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2141.2009.07760.x. Epub 2009 Jun 22.

Aminophospholipid translocase and phospholipid scramblase activities in sickle erythrocyte subpopulations.

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Division of Internal Medicine-Hematology/Oncology, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, OH 45267-0508, USA.


Phosphatidylserine (PS) externalization may contribute to Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) characteristics including thrombogenesis, endothelial adhesion and shortened red blood cell (RBC) lifespan. Aminophospholipid translocase (APLT) returns externalized PS to the inner membrane, and phospholipid scramblase (PLSCR) equilibrates phospholipids (PL) across the membrane. APLT inhibition and PLSCR activation appear to be important for PS externalization. We examined relationships between APLT, PLSCR and external PS in mature sickle RBC and reticulocytes. Normally-hydrated sickle RBC without external PS had active APLT and inactive PLSCR. PS-exposing sickle RBC had inhibited APLT and active PLSCR. Sickle reticulocytes had active APLT and active PLSCR independent of external PS. Sickle RBC dehydrated in vivo had the highest proportion of PS-exposing RBC and markedly inhibited APLT. Normal and sickle RBC dehydrated in vitro had moderately decreased APLT. Rehydration resulted in significant recovery of APLT in RBC previously dehydrated in vitro, but not in sickle RBC dehydrated in vivo. These findings indicate that (i) PS externalization in mature sickle RBC depends on the balance between APLT and PLSCR activities, (ii) PS externalization in sickle reticulocytes depends primarily on PLSCR activation and (iii) APLT inhibition in sickle RBC dehydrated in vivo is due to dehydration itself and other factors.

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