Author(s): Benkerrou M, Delarche C, Brahimi L, Fay M, Vilmer E,
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Abstract Impaired polymorphonuclear neutrophil (PMN) functions during sickle cell anemia (SCA) may have a pathogenic role in the onset of vasoocclusive events. We used flow cytometry to study, in whole blood, the adhesion molecule expression and respiratory burst of PMNs from children with SCA. Three different clinical groups were studied: (1) patients with no history of vasoocclusive events (n = 15); (2) patients with a history of vasoocclusive events (n = 17); and (3) patients receiving hydroxyurea therapy for severe vasoocclusive events (n = 9). Unstimulated PMNs showed decreased L selectin expression and increased H(2)O(2) production whatever the severity of the disease, reflecting PMN activation. This could contribute to endothelial activation reflected by abnormal plasma levels of soluble adhesion molecules (soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1, sE selectin, and sL selectin). After stimulation with bacterial N-formyl peptides (N-formyl-methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine [fMLP]), PMNs from untreated patients with a history of vasoocclusive events showed dysregulated L selectin shedding and increased H(2)O(2) production. Furthermore, in these patients, tumor necrosis factor priming followed by fMLP stimulation induced an H(2)O(2) production significantly higher than in the other patient groups and controls. These impairments could immobilize PMNs on the endothelium, thereby inducing reduced blood flow and fostering microvascular occlusion and vascular damage. In contrast, children treated with hydroxyurea showed near-normal basal and poststimulation H(2)O(2) production as well as normal L selectin shedding after stimulation but no change in plasma levels of soluble adhesion molecules. To our knowledge, this is the first report showing major qualitative changes of PMN abnormalities upon hydroxyurea treatment in SCA patients. This strongly suggests that PMNs are a primary target of this drug.
This article was published in Blood
and referenced in Journal of Blood Disorders & Transfusion