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J Immunol. 1985 Sep;135(3):2005-14.

Disease-associated loss of erythrocyte complement receptors (CR1, C3b receptors) in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus and other diseases involving autoantibodies and/or complement activation.


Although surface membrane density of complement receptor type one (CR1) on erythrocytes (E) is probably an inherited trait among normal individuals, recent evidence from our laboratories suggests that the reduced number of CR1 per E observed in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) results from acquired as well as genetic factors. In the present investigation, the number of CR1 per E was quantitated with 125I-monoclonal anti-CR1 and was found to vary inversely with disease activity in patients with SLE who were followed serially for as long as 14 mo. Although evidence for E surface-bound immune complexes or fixed C3b/iC3b was not obtained, periods of disease activity and low amounts of CR1 per E correlated with the presence of 100 to 800 molecules per E of fixed C3dg fragments (less than 100 C3dg per E in normal subjects). Reduced CR1 and excess fixed C3dg on E also were observed in patients with other disorders associated with complement activation, including chronic cold agglutinin disease, autoimmune hemolytic anemia, paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), Sjögren's syndrome, and mycoplasma pneumonia. A significant negative correlation (r = -0.498) between CR1/E and fixed C3dg/E was demonstrable in 255 individual assays evaluated by regression analysis. CR1 decreased and fixed C3dg increased during active disease; the converse was obtained during remission. In patients with active SLE, both serum complement activity and E CR1 decreased, whereas fixed C3dg fragments increased. By piecewise linear regression analysis, the appearance of 100 to 400 C3dg molecules on patients' E corresponded to a 27 to 60%, reduction in the number of CR1 per E (p less than 0.0002), confirming that fixation of C3 to E was correlated with a loss of CR1. In patients with PNH, low values for CR1 were observed on moderately complement-sensitive PNH type II E in association with increased fixed C3 fragments; however, the markedly complement-sensitive PNH type III E had essentially normal amounts of CR1 and bore little fixed C3. The addition of soluble DNA/anti-DNA immune complexes to normal blood generated levels of fixed C3dg fragments on E comparable to those observed on E from patients with SLE. Kinetic experiments indicated that C3b was fixed to E during the process of immune complex binding and release from E CR1, and that this fixed C3b was subsequently degraded rapidly to fixed iC3b and more slowly to fixed C3dg without the loss of CR1 that occurs in vivo.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

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