Erythrocyte vesiculation: a self-protective mechanism?
Article first published online: 16 APR 2008
© 2008 The Authors
British Journal of Haematology
Volume 141, Issue 4, pages 549–556, May 2008
How to Cite
Willekens, F. L. A., Werre, J. M., Groenen-Döpp, Y. A. M., Roerdinkholder-Stoelwinder, B., De Pauw, B. and Bosman, G. J. C. G. M. (2008), Erythrocyte vesiculation: a self-protective mechanism?. British Journal of Haematology, 141: 549–556. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2141.2008.07055.x
- Issue published online: 16 APR 2008
- Article first published online: 16 APR 2008
- Received 18 September 2007; accepted for publication 29 November 2007
- erythrocyte ageing;
- erythrocyte microparticles;
- band 3;
- senescent cell antigen;
- phosphatidylserine exposure
Previous studies demonstrated that 20% of haemoglobin is lost from circulating erythrocytes during their total lifespan by vesiculation. To study whether removal molecules other than membrane-bound haemoglobin were present in erythrocyte-derived vesicles, flow cytometry and immunoblot analysis were employed to examine the presence of phosphatidylserine (PS) and IgG, and senescent cell antigens respectively. It was demonstrated that 67% of glycophorin A-positive vesicles exposed PS, and that half of these vesicles also contained IgG. Immunoblot analysis revealed the presence of a breakdown product of band 3 that reacted with antibodies directed against senescent erythrocyte antigen-associated band 3 sequences. In contrast, only the oldest erythrocytes contained senescent cell antigens and IgG, and only 0·1% of erythrocytes, of all ages, exposed PS. It was concluded that vesiculation constitutes a mechanism for the removal of erythrocyte membrane patches containing removal molecules, thereby postponing the untimely elimination of otherwise healthy erythrocytes. Consequently, these same removal molecules mediate the rapid removal of erythrocyte-derived vesicles from the circulation.