Erythrocyte aggregation in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus

Clin Hemorheol Microcirc. 2011;47(4):279-85. doi: 10.3233/CH-2011-1409.


Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune, chronic inflammatory, non-organ specific disease. SLE patients present a high prevalence of thrombotic and arteriosclerotic disease. The aim of the present work was to study the erythrocyte aggregation kinetics, and the effect of plasma factors, namely, immunoglobulin and fibrinogen concentration, as well as cell factors such as deformability and erythrocyte membrane lipid fluidity on the erythrocyte aggregation, in SLE patients and healthy controls. The results show that SLE patients red blood cells aggregate at higher rate and the aggregates size are also greater than controls due to an increase of immunoglobulin and plasma fibrinogen. The negative correlation between aggregation parameters and rigidity index could point out that the altered deformability diminishes the erythrocyte aggregation. Correlation between rigidity index and anisotropy suggests that the decrease of membrane lipid fluidity might be a cause of deformability decrease. The erythrocyte aggregation increase in these patients could induce a decreased flow that might contribute to the thromboembolic process present in SLE patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Erythrocyte Aggregation / physiology*
  • Erythrocyte Deformability
  • Erythrocyte Membrane / metabolism
  • Erythrocyte Membrane / pathology
  • Erythrocytes / metabolism
  • Erythrocytes / pathology*
  • Female
  • Fibrinogen / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins / metabolism
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / blood*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology
  • Male
  • Membrane Fluidity
  • Middle Aged


  • Immunoglobulins
  • Fibrinogen