Priapism, hemoglobin desaturation, and red blood cell adhesion in men with sickle cell anemia.
ABSTRACT: Priapism is a serious, but episodic, complication of sickle cell disease (SCD). We had previously reported that subjects with SCD had variable red blood cell (RBC) adhesion to the immobilized sub-endothelial protein laminin (LN). We examined adhesion to LN in a microfluidic device, of RBCs from men with homozygous sickle cell anemia. Adhesion under hypoxic, but not ambient, conditions was greater in men with a history of priapism, with median adhesion of 529 RBCs per 32?mm2/unit area (range 5-5248) rising to 3268 RBCs per 32?mm2/unit area (range 49-18,368, P?=?0.004), under ambient and hypoxic conditions, respectively (n?=?14). This was not seen in RBCs from men without a history of priapism (median 402 (range 14-785) and 122 (range 31-4112) RBCs per 32?mm2/unit area, ambient and hypoxic conditions, respectively (P?=?N.S., N?=?12)). We also observed an association between hypoxia-enhanced RBC adhesion in vitro and a history of hemoglobin desaturation in vivo independent of priapism. Prolonged Hb desaturation may increase sickle polymer formation and RBC damage, resulting in enhanced RBC adhesion, hemolysis, and endothelial dysfunction. The identification of distinct RBC phenotypes could prompt clinical evaluation for suitability for novel or under-used therapies, like oxygen.
Project description:Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a recessive genetic blood disorder exhibiting abnormal blood rheology. Polymerization of sickle hemoglobin, due to a point mutation in the ?-globin gene of hemoglobin, results in aberrantly adhesive and stiff red blood cells (RBCs). Hemolysis, abnormal RBC adhesion, and abnormal blood rheology together impair endothelial health in people with SCD, which leads to cumulative systemic complications. Here, we describe a microfluidic assay combined with a micro particle image velocimetry technique for the integrated in vitro assessment of whole blood viscosity (WBV) and RBC adhesion. We examined WBV and RBC adhesion to laminin (LN) in microscale flow in whole blood samples from 53 individuals with no hemoglobinopathies (HbAA, N = 10), hemoglobin SC disease (HbSC, N = 14), or homozygous SCD (HbSS, N = 29) with mean WBV of 4.50 cP, 4.08 cP, and 3.73 cP, respectively. We found that WBV correlated with RBC count and hematocrit in subjects with HbSC or HbSS. There was a significant inverse association between WBV and RBC adhesion under both normoxic and physiologically hypoxic (SpO<sub>2</sub> of 83%) tests, in which lower WBV associated with higher RBC adhesion to LN in subjects with HbSS. Low WBV has been found by others to associate with endothelial activation. Altered WBV and abnormal RBC adhesion may synergistically contribute to the endothelial damage and cumulative pathophysiology of SCD. These findings suggest that WBV and RBC adhesion may serve as clinically relevant biomarkers and endpoints in assessing emerging targeted and curative therapies in SCD.
Project description:The core pathology of sickle cell disease (SCD) starts with the erythrocyte (RBC). Aberration in MAPK/ERK1/2 signaling, which can regulate cell adhesion, occurs in diverse pathologies. Because RBCs contain abundant ERK1/2, we predicted that ERK1/2 is functional in sickle (SS) RBCs and promotes adherence, a hallmark of SCD. ERK1/2 remained active in SS but not normal RBCs. ?(2)-adrenergic receptor stimulation by epinephrine can enhance ERK1/2 activity only in SS RBCs via PKA- and tyrosine kinase p72(syk)-dependent pathways. ERK signaling is implicated in RBC ICAM-4 phosphorylation, promoting SS RBC adhesion to the endothelium. SS RBC adhesion and phosphorylation of both ERK and ICAM-4 all decreased with continued cell exposure to epinephrine, implying that activation of ICAM-4-mediated SS RBC adhesion is temporally associated with ERK1/2 activation. Furthermore, recombinant ERK2 phosphorylated ?- and ?-adducins and dematin at the ERK consensus motif. Cytoskeletal protein 4.1 also showed dynamic phosphorylation but not at the ERK consensus motif. These results demonstrate that ERK activation induces phosphorylation of cytoskeletal proteins and the adhesion molecule ICAM-4, promoting SS RBC adhesion to the endothelium. Thus, blocking RBC ERK1/2 activation, such as that promoted by catecholamine stress hormones, could ameliorate SCD pathophysiology.
Project description:Sickle red cell (SS RBC) adhesion is believed to contribute to the process of vaso-occlusion in sickle cell disease (SCD). We previously found that the LW RBC adhesion receptor can be activated by epinephrine to mediate SS RBC adhesion to endothelial alphavbeta3 integrin. To determine the contribution of LW activation to vaso-occlusive events in vivo, we investigated whether in vitro treatment of SS RBCs by epinephrine resulted in vaso-occlusion in intact microvasculature after RBC infusion into nude mice. Epinephrine enhanced human SS but not normal RBC adhesion to murine endothelial cells in vitro and to endothelium in vivo, promoting vaso-occlusion and RBC organ sequestration. Murine sickle RBCs also responded to epinephrine with increased adhesion to postcapillary endothelium in nude mice. Epinephrine-induced SS RBC adhesion, vaso-occlusion, and RBC organ trapping could be prevented by the beta-adrenergic receptor (beta-AR) antagonist, propranolol. Infusion of soluble recombinant LW also significantly reduced adhesion and vaso-occlusion. In addition, epinephrine-treated SS RBCs induced activation of murine leukocyte adhesion to endothelium as well. We conclude that LW activation by epinephrine via beta-AR stimulation can promote both SS RBC and leukocyte adhesion as well as vaso-occlusion, suggesting that both epinephrine and LW play potentially pathophysiological roles in SCD.
Project description:<h4>Unlabelled</h4><h4>Background</h4>In sickle cell disease (SCD), the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) ERK1/2 is constitutively active and can be inducible by agonist-stimulation only in sickle but not in normal human red blood cells (RBCs). ERK1/2 is involved in activation of ICAM-4-mediated sickle RBC adhesion to the endothelium. However, other effects of the ERK1/2 activation in sickle RBCs leading to the complex SCD pathophysiology, such as alteration of RBC hemorheology are unknown.<h4>Results</h4>To further characterize global ERK1/2-induced changes in membrane protein phosphorylation within human RBCs, a label-free quantitative phosphoproteomic analysis was applied to sickle and normal RBC membrane ghosts pre-treated with U0126, a specific inhibitor of MEK1/2, the upstream kinase of ERK1/2, in the presence or absence of recombinant active ERK2. Across eight unique treatment groups, 375 phosphopeptides from 155 phosphoproteins were quantified with an average technical coefficient of variation in peak intensity of 19.8%. Sickle RBC treatment with U0126 decreased thirty-six phosphopeptides from twenty-one phosphoproteins involved in regulation of not only RBC shape, flexibility, cell morphology maintenance and adhesion, but also glucose and glutamate transport, cAMP production, degradation of misfolded proteins and receptor ubiquitination. Glycophorin A was the most affected protein in sickle RBCs by this ERK1/2 pathway, which contained 12 unique phosphorylated peptides, suggesting that in addition to its effect on sickle RBC adhesion, increased glycophorin A phosphorylation via the ERK1/2 pathway may also affect glycophorin A interactions with band 3, which could result in decreases in both anion transport by band 3 and band 3 trafficking. The abundance of twelve of the thirty-six phosphopeptides were subsequently increased in normal RBCs co-incubated with recombinant ERK2 and therefore represent specific MEK1/2 phospho-inhibitory targets mediated via ERK2.<h4>Conclusions</h4>These findings expand upon the current model for the involvement of ERK1/2 signaling in RBCs. These findings also identify additional protein targets of this pathway other than the RBC adhesion molecule ICAM-4 and enhance the understanding of the mechanism of small molecule inhibitors of MEK/1/2/ERK1/2, which could be effective in ameliorating RBC hemorheology and adhesion, the hallmarks of SCD.
Project description:In sickle cell disease (SCD), hemoglobin molecules polymerize intracellularly and lead to a cascade of events resulting in decreased deformability and increased adhesion of red blood cells (RBCs). Decreased deformability and increased adhesion of sickle RBCs lead to blood vessel occlusion (vaso-occlusion) in SCD patients. Here, we present a microfluidic approach integrated with a cell dimensioning algorithm to analyze dynamic deformability of adhered RBC at the single-cell level in controlled microphysiological flow. We measured and compared dynamic deformability and adhesion of healthy hemoglobin A (HbA) and homozygous sickle hemoglobin (HbS) containing RBCs in blood samples obtained from 24 subjects. We introduce a new parameter to assess deformability of RBCs: the dynamic deformability index (DDI), which is defined as the time-dependent change of the cell's aspect ratio in response to fluid flow shear stress. Our results show that DDI of HbS-containing RBCs were significantly lower compared to that of HbA-containing RBCs. Moreover, we observed subpopulations of HbS containing RBCs in terms of their dynamic deformability characteristics: deformable and non-deformable RBCs. Then, we tested blood samples from SCD patients and analyzed RBC adhesion and deformability at physiological and above physiological flow shear stresses. We observed significantly greater number of adhered non-deformable sickle RBCs than deformable sickle RBCs at flow shear stresses well above the physiological range, suggesting an interplay between dynamic deformability and increased adhesion of RBCs in vaso-occlusive events.
Project description:Polymerization and adhesion, dynamic processes that are hallmarks of sickle cell disease (SCD), have thus far been studied in vitro only separately. Here, we present quantitative results of the simultaneous and synergistic effects of adhesion and polymerization of deoxygenated sickle hemoglobin (HbS) in the human red blood cell (RBC) on the mechanisms underlying vasoocclusive pain crisis. For this purpose, we employ a specially developed hypoxic microfluidic platform, which is capable of inducing sickling and unsickling of RBCs in vitro, to test blood samples from eight patients with SCD. We supplemented these experimental results with detailed molecular-level computational simulations of cytoadherence and biorheology using dissipative particle dynamics. By recourse to image analysis techniques, we characterize sickle RBC maturation stages in the following order of the degree of adhesion susceptibility under hypoxia: sickle reticulocytes in circulation (SRs) ? sickle mature erythrocytes (SMEs) ? irreversibly sickled cells (ISCs). We show that (<i>i</i>) hypoxia significantly enhances sickle RBC adherence; (<i>ii</i>) HbS polymerization enhances sickle cell adherence in SRs and SMEs, but not in ISCs; (<i>iii</i>) SRs exhibit unique adhesion dynamics where HbS fiber projections growing outward from the cell surface create multiple sites of adhesion; and (<i>iv</i>) polymerization stimulates adhesion and vice versa, thereby establishing the bidirectional coupling between the two processes. These findings offer insights into possible mechanistic pathways leading to vasoocclusion crisis. They also elucidate the processes underlying the onset of occlusion that may involve circulating reticulocytes, which are more abundant in hemolytic anemias due to robust compensatory erythropoiesis.
Project description:Sickle red blood cells (SSRBCs) are adherent to the endothelium, activate leukocyte adhesion, and are deficient in bioactive nitric oxide (NO) adducts such as S-nitrosothiols (SNOs), with reduced ability to induce vasodilation in response to hypoxia. All these pathophysiologic characteristics promote vascular occlusion, the hallmark of sickle cell disease (SCD). Loading hypoxic SSRBCs in vitro with NO followed by reoxygenation significantly decreased epinephrine-activated SSRBC adhesion to the endothelium, the ability of activated SSRBCs to mediate leukocyte adhesion in vitro, and vessel obstruction in vivo. Because transfusion is frequently used in SCD, we also determined the effects of banked (SNO-depleted) red blood cells (RBCs) on vaso-occlusion in vivo. Fresh or 14-day-old normal RBCs (AARBCs) reduced epinephrine-activated SSRBC adhesion to the vascular endothelium and prevented vaso-occlusion. In contrast, AARBCs stored for 30 days failed to decrease activated SSRBC adhesivity or vaso-occlusion, unless these RBCs were loaded with NO. Furthermore, NO loading of SSRBCs increased S-nitrosohemoglobin and modulated epinephrine's effect by upregulating phosphorylation of membrane proteins, including pyruvate kinase, E3 ubiquitin ligase, and the cytoskeletal protein 4.1. Thus, abnormal SSRBC NO/SNO content both contributes to the vaso-occlusive pathophysiology of SCD, potentially by affecting at least protein phosphorylation, and is potentially amenable to correction by (S)NO repletion or by RBC transfusion.
Project description:Human healthy (wild-type (WT)) and homozygous sickle (SS) red blood cells (RBCs) express a large number of surface receptors that mediate cell adhesion between RBCs, and between RBCs and white blood cells, platelets, and the endothelium. In sickle cell disease (SCD), abnormal adhesion of RBCs to endothelial cells is mediated by the intercellular adhesion molecule-4 (ICAM-4), which appears on the RBC membrane and binds to the endothelial ?v?3 integrin. This is a key factor in the initiation of vaso-occlusive episodes, the hallmark of SCD. A better understanding of the mechanisms that control RBC adhesion to endothelium may lead to novel approaches to both prevention and treatment of vaso-occlusive episodes in SCD. One important mechanism of ICAM-4 activation occurs via the cyclic adenosine monophosphate-protein kinase A (cAMP-PKA)-dependent signaling pathway. Here, we employed an in vitro technique called single-molecule force spectroscopy to study the effect of modulation of the cAMP-PKA-dependent pathway on ICAM-4 receptor activation. We quantified the frequency of active ICAM-4 receptors on WT-RBC and SS-RBC membranes, as well as the median unbinding force between ICAM-4 and ?v?3. We showed that the collective frequency of unbinding events in WT-RBCs is not significantly different from that of SS-RBCs. This result was confirmed by confocal microscopy experiments. In addition, we showed that incubation of normal RBCs and SS-RBCs with epinephrine, a catecholamine that binds to the ?-adrenergic receptor and activates the cAMP-PKA-dependent pathway, caused a significant increase in the frequency of active ICAM-4 receptors in both normal RBCs and SS-RBCs. However, the unbinding force between ICAM-4 and the corresponding ligand ?v?3 remained the same. Furthermore, we demonstrated that forskolin, an adenylyl cyclase activator, significantly increased the frequency of ICAM-4 receptors in WT-RBCs and SS-RBCs, confirming that the activation of ICAM-4 is regulated by the cAMP-PKA pathway. Finally, we showed that A-kinase anchoring proteins play an essential role in ICAM-4 activation.
Project description:Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a genetic disease caused by a single mutation in the ?-globin gene, leading to the production of an abnormal hemoglobin called hemoglobin S (HbS), which polymerizes under deoxygenation, and induces the sickling of red blood cells (RBCs). Sickled RBCs are very fragile and rigid, and patients consequently become anemic and develop frequent and recurrent vaso-occlusive crises. However, it is now evident that SCD is not only a RBC rheological disease. Accumulating evidence shows that SCD is also characterized by the presence of chronic inflammation and oxidative stress, participating in the development of chronic vasculopathy and several chronic complications. The accumulation of hemoglobin and heme in the plasma, as a consequence of enhanced intravascular hemolysis, decreases nitric oxide bioavailability and enhances the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Heme and hemoglobin also represent erythrocytic danger-associated molecular pattern molecules (eDAMPs), which may activate endothelial inflammation through TLR-4 signaling and promote the development of complications, such as acute chest syndrome. It is also suspected that heme may activate the innate immune complement system and stimulate neutrophils to release neutrophil extracellular traps. A large amount of microparticles (MPs) from various cellular origins (platelets, RBCs, white blood cells, endothelial cells) is also released into the plasma of SCD patients and participate in the inflammation and oxidative stress in SCD. In turn, this pro-inflammatory and oxidative stress environment further alters the RBC properties. Increased pro-inflammatory cytokine concentrations promote the activation of RBC NADPH oxidase and, thus, raise the production of intra-erythrocyte ROS. Such enhanced oxidative stress causes deleterious damage to the RBC membrane and further alters the deformability of the cells, modifying their aggregation properties. These RBC rheological alterations have been shown to be associated to specific SCD complications, such as leg ulcers, priapism, and glomerulopathy. Moreover, RBCs positive for the Duffy antigen receptor for chemokines may be very sensitive to various inflammatory molecules that promote RBC dehydration and increase RBC adhesiveness to the vascular wall. In summary, SCD is characterized by a vicious circle between abnormal RBC rheology and inflammation, which modulates the clinical severity of patients.
Project description:Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a monogenic red blood cell (RBC) disorder with high morbidity and mortality. Here, we report, for the first time, the impact of SCD on the bone marrow (BM) vascular niche, which is critical for hematopoiesis. In SCD mice, we find a disorganized and structurally abnormal BM vascular network of increased numbers of highly tortuous arterioles occupying the majority of the BM cavity, as well as fragmented sinusoidal vessels filled with aggregates of erythroid and myeloid cells. By in vivo imaging, sickle and control RBCs have significantly slow intravascular flow speeds in sickle cell BM but not in control BM. In sickle cell BM, we find increased reactive oxygen species production in expanded erythroblast populations and elevated levels of HIF-1?. The SCD BM exudate exhibits increased levels of proangiogenic growth factors and soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule-1. Transplantation of SCD mouse BM cells into wild-type mice recapitulates the SCD vascular phenotype. Our data provide a model of SCD BM, in which slow RBC flow and vaso-occlusions further diminish local oxygen availability in the physiologic hypoxic BM cavity. These events trigger a milieu that is conducive to aberrant vessel growth. The distorted neovascular network is completely reversed by a 6-week blood transfusion regimen targeting hemoglobin S to <30%, highlighting the plasticity of the vascular niche. A better insight into the BM microenvironments in SCD might provide opportunities to optimize approaches toward efficient and long-term hematopoietic engraftment in the context of curative therapies.