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Front Physiol. 2013 Dec 25;4:387. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2013.00387.

Mechanisms tagging senescent red blood cells for clearance in healthy humans.

Author information

1
Department of Biology, Institute of Biochemistry ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.
2
Vetsuisse Faculty, Zurich Center for Integrative Human Physiology (ZIHP), Institute of Veterinary Physiology, University of Zurich Zurich, Switzerland.

Abstract

This review focuses on the analysis and evaluation of the diverse senescence markers suggested to prime red blood cells (RBC) for clearance in humans. These tags develop in the course of biochemical and structural alterations accompanying RBC aging, as the decrease of activities of multiple enzymes, the gradual accumulation of oxidative damage, the loss of membrane in form of microvesicles, the redistribution of ions and alterations in cell volume, density, and deformability. The actual tags represent the penultimate galactosyl residues, revealed by desialylation of glycophorins, or the aggregates of the anion exchanger (band 3 protein) to which anti-galactose antibodies bind in the first and anti-band 3 naturally occurring antibodies (NAbs) in the second case. While anti-band 3 NAbs bind to the carbohydrate-free portion of band 3 aggregates in healthy humans, induced anti-lactoferrin antibodies bind to the carbohydrate-containing portion of band 3 and along with anti-band 3 NAbs may accelerated clearance of senescent RBC in patients with anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA). Exoplasmically accessible phosphatidylserine (PS) and the alterations in the interplay between CD47 on RBC and its receptor on macrophages, signal regulatory protein alpha (SIRPalpha protein), were also reported to induce erythrocyte clearance. We discuss the relevance of each mechanism and analyze the strength of the data.

KEYWORDS:

hemoglobin; human red blood cells; naturally occurring antibodies; oxidative stress; senescence; vesicles; volume

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