Studies on the in vivo effects of antibody. Interaction of IgM antibody and complement in the immune clearance and destruction of erythrocytes in man

The Journal of Clinical Investigation
J P Atkinson, M M Frank


Purified human IgM isoagglutinins were utilized to sensitize (51)Cr-labeled erythrocytes so as to produce a known number of complement-fixing sites. These cells were then reinfused into the erythrocyte donor. A minimum of 20 C1-fixing sites/erythrocyte were required for decreased survival. As the amount of antibody coating the erythrocytes was increased, a larger percentage was sequestered. With 80 C1-fixing sites, more than 75% of the injected erythrocytes were removed from the circulation within 10 min. In each case, the clearance pattern consisted of rapid hepatic sequestration followed by a gradual return of a portion of the erythrocytes into the circulation where they survived normally. Clearance was shown to be dependent upon activation of the classical complement pathway, since sensitized cells survived normally in hereditary angioedema patients with low levels of C4 and no detectable C2. Exposure of sensitized cells to fresh serum for 15 min led to the deposition of 550-800 C3 molecules/C1-fixing site. Such cells were immune adherence positive, were agglutinated by anti-C3b, formed rosettes with human alveolar macrophages, and were sequestered in vivo, presumably because of the interaction of cell-bound C3b with the C3b...Continue Reading


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