Complement-induced procoagulant alteration of red blood cell membranes with microvesicle formation in paroxysmal nocturnal haemoglobinuria (PNH): implication for thrombogenesis in PNH

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Complement-induced procoagulant alteration of red blood cell (RBC) membranes in paroxysmal nocturnal haemoglobinuria (PNH) was examined. Microvesicles, deficient in acetylcholinesterase, were generated and released from PNH RBC upon complement activation. The microvesicles generated from complement-activated PNH RBC accelerated factor Xa-dependent plasma coagulation more than those generated from RBC by the treatment with ionophore A23187. When assessed by factor Xa-catalysed prothrombin activation, complement activation enhanced procoagulant properties of both normal and PNH RBC similarly, although PNH RBC were lysed but normal RBC were not. This enhancement of factor Xa-dependent prothrombinase activity of complement-activated RBC was inhibited by the treatment of the RBC with annexin V, a protein with binding affinity for anionic phospholipids especially for phosphatidylserine (PS). Neither the enhanced procoagulant properties of RBC nor apparent RBC population with annexin V-binding affinity were demonstrated before complement activation in any of the four PNH patients studied. PS-externalized PNH RBC and microvesicles may contribute to the removal of PNH RBC from the circulation. We conclude that although PNH RBC do not constantly exhibit enhanced procoagulant properties in vivo, complement activation induces a procoagulant alteration of RBC membranes with microvesicle formation, potentially contributing to the thrombogenesis in PNH.

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