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Clin Lab Haematol. 2001 Apr;23(2):81-90.

A standardized flow cytometric method for screening paroxysmal nocturnal haemoglobinuria (PNH) measuring CD55 and CD59 expression on erythrocytes and granulocytes.

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Medical Clinic and Policlinic I, University Hospital Dresden, Haus 66a, Fetscherstrasse 74, 01307 Dresden, Germany.


PNH is a disorder of the pluripotent stem cells resulting in a deficient expression of membrane-bound GPI-anchored proteins in different cell types. Several flow cytometric approaches are designed to detect this antigen deficiency. But they all require drawing and testing of normal samples as control. Therefore, in the present study two flow cytometric assays for the detection of CD55 and CD59 deficiency in erythrocytes (REDQUANT CD55/CD59) and granulocytes (CELLQUANT CD55/CD59) are proposed. Precalibrated beads are used to define the cut off between normal and deficient cell populations. The specificity of the tests has been evaluated in healthy blood donors (n=52) resulting in a clear and reproducible cut off (3%) for the normal percentage of GPI-deficient cells. This cut off has been confirmed in leukaemia and lymphoma patients not suspected for developing PNH. The sensitivity has been tested in patients suffering from known PNH (n=23). Both tests performed in combination allowed a reliable detection of PNH in all patients showing antigen deficiencies in both cell types in most patients (20/23). In contrast, the PNH clones in the investigated patients with MDS (4/19) or AA (4/22) were present in granulocytes or erythrocytes, only. This underlines the necessity of analysing erythrocytes as well as granulocytes. Preliminary data regarding a possible correlation between disease activity and percentage of antigen-deficient cells lead to the assumption that haemolytic crises can only be determined on granulocytes whereas deficient erythrocytes disappeared due to complement-mediated lysis of the PNH clone. In conclusion, the combination of the test kits enables the differential diagnosis of PNH clones in a standardized, simple and rapid approach which may have therapeutic consequences.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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