Inflammatory mediators promote strong sickle cell adherence to endothelium under venular flow conditions.Am J Hematol. 2003 Aug; 73(4):215-24.AJ
Adherence of sickle erythrocytes to endothelium in venules is thought to initiate or propagate vaso-occlusive episodes. Because of blood shear forces with normal microvascular flow, adherence in post-capillary venules requires binding via high-affinity receptor-mediated pathways. Microvascular flow in sickle patients is episodic, even in asymptomatic patients, so adherence may also occur at low shear not requiring high-affinity binding. Sickle cell binding to endothelium was quantified under flow or static incubation with unusually large vWF, thrombospondin, alpha(4)beta(1)/VCAM-1 or alpha(4)beta(1)/fibronectin (FN). Adherence under flow at 0.5 dyne/cm(2) shear stress leads to the greatest number of adherent sickle cells. Adherence under flow at 1.0 dyne/cm(2) leads to the strongest adherence. Static incubation conditions promote weak adherence of low numbers of sickle cells to endothelium. Following attachment at 1.0 dyne/cm(2), adherence strength was 2.5 +/- 0.1 or 2.6 +/- 0.2 dynes/cm(2) for alpha(4)beta(1)/VCAM-1 or alpha(4)beta(1)/FN pathways, a level 50% greater than adherence strength mediated by thrombospondin or ULvWF (1.7 +/- 0.08 or 1.6 +/- 0.07 dynes/cm(2), respectively). Sickle cell adhesion promoted by simultaneous activation of alpha(4)beta(1)/VCAM-1 and alpha(4)beta(1)/FN pathways is the strongest at 6.2 +/- 0.2 dynes/cm(2) and adherent red cells resist detachment shear stresses up to 10 dynes/cm(2). These data demonstrate that sickle cell adhesion to endothelium is regulated both by receptor/ligand affinity and flow conditions. Thus, both microvascular flow conditions and receptor-ligand interactions may regulate sickle cell adherence in vivo.