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Clin Biochem. 2013 Dec;46(18):1798-803. doi: 10.1016/j.clinbiochem.2013.09.011. Epub 2013 Sep 21.

Altered red cell and platelet adhesion in hemolytic diseases: Hereditary spherocytosis, paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria and sickle cell disease.

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INCT de Sangue, Haematology and Haemotherapy Centre, School of Medicine, University of Campinas - UNICAMP, Campinas, Sao Paulo, Brazil.



Intravascular hemolysis may have important pathophysiological consequences, such as the induction of cellular adhesion and vasculopathy. We compared the adhesive properties of red cells (RBC) and platelets in hereditary spherocytosis (HS), paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) and sickle cell disease (SCD) patients.


The adhesion of RBC and platelets, from patients and healthy subjects, was determined using static adhesion assays. RBC surface markers were characterized by flow cytometry and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), plasma hemoglobin (pHb) and TNF-α were assayed in serum/plasma samples.


pHb levels were elevated in all three hemolytic diseases, indicating the incidence of intravascular hemolysis. RBC adhesion and TNF-α were augmented in HS and SCD, but not in PNH. Reticulocyte counts were raised in the three diseases, but were higher in HS and SCD than in PNH; high expressions of CD71, CD36 and CD49d were observed on SCD RBC, while CD71 alone was increased on HS and PNH RBC. Splenectomy was associated with reversals of increased pHb, RBC adhesion, reticulocytes, RBC marker expression and inflammation in HS. In contrast, platelet adhesion was elevated in SCD and PNH, but not HS. Platelet adhesion correlated significantly with serum LDH, but not pHb, in the hemolytic disease cohort; interestingly, LDH did not correlate with reticulocytes or pHb levels.


Results indicate that extravascular, rather than intravascular, hemolysis (and ensuing RBC production) may contribute to elevations in RBC adhesive properties in HS and SCD, while mechanisms peculiar to each disease may augment platelet adhesion in SCD and PNH.


Adhesion; Intravascular hemolysis; Platelets; Red cells

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