Defect in the lymphoid compartment might account for CD8+-mediated effects in the pathophysiology of pure red cell aplasia

Clin Immunol. 2003 Sep;108(3):248-56. doi: 10.1016/s1521-6616(03)00139-6.


Pure red cell aplasia (PRCA) is a rare hematological syndrome characterized by the lack of red cell progenitors in an otherwise normocellular bone marrow. Many agents and mechanisms have been implicated in the pathophysiology of PRCA, including immune-mediated dysfunctions. This report describes three patients with PRCA with unknown underlying cause and showed that for each, increases in CD8+ cells blunted the maturation of early erythroid (BFU-E). Each patient subsequently responded to immunosuppressive therapy. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from age- and sex-matched healthy controls showed comparable distribution of CD3, CD4 and CD16, but significant increase in CD8 and decreased CD19. The distribution of lymphocyte subsets correlated with mitogen responses, but showed no difference in allogeneic responses when compared to controls. The adherent population in PRCA is important for mediating the hyper-immune state of patients, when IL-2 levels were used as readout. There was a trend for decreased BFU-E in patients, but marked reduction for late erythroid progenitors (CFU-E). CD8+ cells from PRCA blunted the maturation of BFU-E, despite increasing erythropoietin concentrations. These results strongly suggest that there are defects in the lymphoid compartment that feedback on the erythroid lineage of PRCA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antigens, CD19 / analysis
  • CD8 Antigens / analysis*
  • Cell Differentiation / immunology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Erythroid Precursor Cells / immunology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / immunology*
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Red-Cell Aplasia, Pure / immunology
  • Red-Cell Aplasia, Pure / physiopathology*


  • Antigens, CD19
  • CD8 Antigens