Erythrocyte adherence to endothelium in sickle-cell anemia. A possible determinant of disease severity

N Engl J Med. 1980 May 1;302(18):992-5. doi: 10.1056/NEJM198005013021803.


We studied 33 patients with sickle-cell anemia to examine the possible relation between the severity of their disease (frequency of microvascular occlusions) and the abnormal adherence of sickle erythrocytes to cultured human endothelium. Neither clinical severity nor erythrocyte adherence correlates significantly with red-cell indexes, hemoglobin concentration, percentage of irreversibly sickled red cells, level of fetal hemoglobin, or reticulocyte count. However, clinical severity and erythrocyte adherence are strongly correlated (rank correlation coefficient = +0.666; P less than 0.001). These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that abnormal interactions between erythrocytes and endothelium may be the initiating factor in the development of microvascular occlusions in sickle-cell anemia.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anemia, Sickle Cell / blood*
  • Anemia, Sickle Cell / physiopathology
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Culture Techniques
  • Endothelium
  • Erythrocytes, Abnormal / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Microcirculation