The red cell revisited--matters of life and death.
SourceCellular and Molecular Biology, Including Cyto-Enzymology, 50, 2, (2004), pp. 139-145
Article / Letter to editor
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Laboratory of Medical Immunology
Blood Transfusion and Transplantation Immunology
Cellular and Molecular Biology, Including Cyto-Enzymology
SubjectUMCN 1.5: Interventional oncology; UMCN 5.3: Cellular energy metabolism
An erythrocyte-fractionating method combining volume and subsequent density separation is described. Iron isotope (59Fe)-validation proved this combination of methods to be complementary. By deploying HbA1c as cell age marker, obtained fractions demonstrated that circulating erythrocytes lose 20% of hemoglobin and membrane by shedding vesicles. Vesiculation from older cells proved to be facilitated by the spleen. Animal studies revealed that such vesicles are rapidly removed from the circulation by scavenger receptors on Kupffer cells with phosphatidylserine acting as the principal ligand. These studies reveal the existence of an alternative pathway of erythrocyte breakdown. This means that the premortal substrate of 20% of any erythrocyte is at our disposal. As this kind of vesiculation takes place during the entire erythrocyte lifespan, loss and sometimes reutilisation of marker substances limits the usefulness of isotope studies to the first half of the erythrocyte lifespan, thereby putting the dogmatic lifespan of 120 days into question. Furthermore, these studies add to the understanding of hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) metabolism and the origin of the wide variation of erythrocyte parameters in peripheral blood. Removal of old erythrocytes from the circulation and from donor blood may open new ways into the treatment of both bilirubin and secondary iron overload.
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