Two distinct pathways mediate the formation of intermediate density cells and hyperdense cells from normal density sickle red blood cells.
In sickle cell anemia (SS), some red blood cells dehydrate, forming a hyperdense (HD) cell fraction (>1.114 g/mL; mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration [MCHC], >46 g/dL) that contains many irreversibly sickled cells (ISCs), whereas other SS red blood cells dehydrate to an intermediate density (ID; 1.090 to 1.114 g/mL; MCHC, 36 to 46 g/dL). This study asks if the potassium-chloride cotransporter (K:Cl) and the calcium-dependent potassium channel [K(Ca2+)] are participants in the formation of one or both types of dense SS red blood cells. We induced sickling by exposing normal density (ND; 1.080 to 1.090 g/mL; MCHC, 32 to 36 g/dL) SS discocytes to repetitive oxygenation-deoxygenation (O-D) cycles in vitro. At physiologic Na+, K+, and Cl-, and 0.5 to 2 mmol/L Ca2+, the appearance of dense cells was time- and pH-dependent. O-D cycling at pH 7.4 in 5% CO2-equilibrated buffer generated only ID cells, whereas O-D cycling at pH 6.8 in 5% CO2-equilibrated buffer generated both ID and HD cells, the latter taking more than 8 hours to form. At 22 hours, 35% +/- 17% of the parent ND cells were recovered in the ID fraction and 18% +/- 11% in the HD fraction. Continuous deoxygenation (N2/5% CO2) at pH 6.8 generated both ID and HD cells, but many of these cells had multiple projections, clearly different from the morphology of endogenous dense cells and ISCs. Continuous oxygenation (air/5% CO2) at pH 6.8 resulted in less than 10% dense cell (ID + HD) formation. ATP depletion substantially increased HD cell formation and moderately decreased ID cell formation. HD cells formed after 22 hours of O-D cycling at pH 6.8 contained fewer F cells than did ID cells, suggesting that HD cell formation is particularly dependent on HbS polymerization. EGTA chelation of buffer Ca2+ inhibited HD but not ID cell formation, and increasing buffer Ca2+ from 0.5 to 2 mmol/L promoted HD but not ID cell formation in some SS patients. Substitution of nitrate for Cl- inhibited ID cell formation, as did inhibitors of the K:Cl cotransporter, okadaic acid, and [(dihydroindenyl) oxy]alkanoic acid (DIOA). Conversely, inhibitors of K(Ca2+), charybdotoxin and clotrimazole, inhibited HD cell formation. The combined use of K(Ca2+) and K:Cl inhibitors nearly eliminated dense cell (ID + HD cell) formation. In summary, dense cells formed by O-D cycling for 22 hours at pH 7.4 cycling are predominately the ID type, whereas dense cells formed by O-D cycling for 22 hours at pH 6.8 are both the ID and HD type, with the latter low in HbF, suggesting that HD cell formation has a greater dependency on HbS polymerization. A combination of K:Cl cotransport and the K(Ca2+) activities account for the majority of dense cells formed, and these pathways can be driven independently. We propose a model in which reversible sickling-induced K+ loss by K:Cl primarily generates ID cells and K+ loss by the K(Ca2+) channel primarily generates HD cells. These results imply that both pathways must be inhibited to completely prevent dense SS cell formation and have potential therapeutic implications.
The Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center and Division of Hematology, Bronx, NY, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org, ,
Anemia, Sickle Cell
Centrifugation, Density Gradient
Pub Type(s)Journal Article
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.