Erythrocyte aging: a more than superficial resemblance to apoptosis?
SourceCellular Physiology and Biochemistry, 16, 1-3, (2005), pp. 1-8
Article / Letter to editor
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Laboratory of Medical Immunology
Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry
SubjectDCN 1: Perception and Action; IGMD 5: Health aging / healthy living; UMCN 5.3: Cellular energy metabolism
In physiological circumstances, erythrocyte aging leads to binding of autologous IgG followed by recognition and removal through phagocytosis, mainly by Kupffer cells in the liver. This process is triggered by the appearance of a senescent erythrocyte-specific antigen. The functional and structural characteristics of senescent erythrocytes strongly suggest that this antigen originates on band 3, probably by calcium-induced proteolysis. Generation of vesicles enriched in denatured hemoglobin is an integral part of the erythrocyte aging process. These vesicles are also removed by Kupffer cells, with a major role for exposure of phosphatidylserine. Moreover, senescent erythrocyte-specific antigens are present on vesicles. Thus, vesicles and senescent erythrocytes may be recognized and removed through the same signals. These and other, recent data support the theory that erythrocyte aging is a form of apoptosis that is concentrated in the cell membrane, and provide the context for future studies on initiation and regulation of the erythrocyte aging process. Insight into the normal aging mechanism is essential for understanding the fate of erythrocytes in pathological circumstances and the survival of donor erythrocytes after transfusion.
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