Stimulating erythropoiesis increases complement receptor expression on primate erythrocytes

Lee A. Hebert, Daniel J. Birmingham, Xiao Ping Shen, Fernando G. Cosio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Erythrocyte complement receptors (CR) are unique to primates and play a role in the clearance of immune complexes from the circulation. Immune complex-mediated diseases (e.g., systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE) cause decreased erythrocyte CR levels, resulting in decreased capacity of the erythrocytes to bind immune complexes that form in the circulation. Thus, raising erythrocyte CR levels might benefit patients with immune complex-mediated diseases. Because young erythrocytes express more CR than old erythrocytes, increasing erythropoiesis should increase the average number of CR expressed per erythrocyte. The present study was undertaken to test that hypothesis. Erythropoiesis was stimulated in nine cynomolgus monkeys (CYN) by weekly phlebotomy (30% of blood volume was removed, erythrocytes were discarded, and leukocytes were returned to the animal) for 8 weeks. Sham phlebotomy (30% of blood removed, then all components returned to the animal) was carried out weekly in four additional CYN for a period of 4 to 8 weeks. Sham phlebotomy did not change any of the parameters measured. However, phlebotomy resulted in a progressive increase in the mean number of CR expressed per erythrocyte (CR/erythrocyte): 2780 ± 700 to 4230 ± 820, P < 0.0005. The increase in erythrocyte CR was first detected at about 2 weeks after the start of phlebotomy and was sustained through the course of phlebotomy. The increase in CR/erythrocyte included an increase in the percentage of erythrocyte expressing CR in clusters (37.9 ± 6.4 vs 50.8 ± 8.7%, P < 0.01) as demonstrated by a flow cytometry study of the binding of fluorescent beads coated with anti-CR1 antibody. No significant change in leukocyte or platelet counts were observed. We conclude that stimulating erythropoiesis causes an increase in CR/erythrocyte. The magnitude of the increase suggests that it could be biologically significant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)301-306
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Immunology and Immunopathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Immunology


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