Interaction of desialated guinea pig erythrocytes with the classical and alternative pathways of guinea pig complement in vivo and in vitro

E. J. Brown, K. A. Joiner, M. M. Frank

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16 Scopus citations


We examined the fate of desialated autologous erythrocytes injected intravenously into guinea pigs (GP). Desialated GP erythrocytes (E) were lysed directly or cleared by the reticuloendothelial system in normal GP (NIH-GP) and cleared by the reticuloendothelial system in GP genetically deficient in the classical complement pathway component C4 (C4D-GP), which activate complement only via the alternative pathway. Desialated E were also cleared in cobra venom factor-treated GP (CVF-GP), which had <1% of normal C3 levels, but were not cleared at all in C4D-CVF-GP. Preinjection of asialoorosomucoid (ASOR) and ovalbumin (OVA) had no effect on the rate of E clearance. These in vivo studies indicated that complement activation is essential for clearance of desialated E and that clearance is unaffected by blockade of galactose or mannose receptors. Inhibition of complement-mediated clearance required blockade of both classical and alternative complement pathways. In vitro studies showed that lysis of desialated E could occur in NIH-GP serum (GPS) but not in C4D-GPS. Surprisingly, CVF-GPS also caused lysis of desialated E. Lysis was dependent on both natural antibody to desialated E and classical pathway activation; natural antibody was of both the IgG and IgM classes. C3 uptake studies demonstrated that almost 10 times as many C3 molecules/E were deposited by NIH-GPS as by C4D-GPS or CVF-GPS onto desialated E. Approximately equal numbers of C3 molecules were deposited by CVF-GPS, which did lyse desialated E, and by C4D-GPS, which did not. We suggest that the molecular mechanism of in vivo clearance and in vitro lysis of desialated E by CVF-GP is via classical pathway deposition of C3b into sites on the erythrocyte surface protected from inactivation by H (β1H) and I (C4b/3b inactivator). Deposition of C3b into these sites by alternative pathway activation is sufficient to cause clearance but not lysis of desialated E. CVP-GPS may not represent an adequate reagent for testing the complement dependence of various biologic phenomena, particularly if the question involves surfaces that can provide protected sites for C3b molecules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1710-1719
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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