Published October 1, 1984 - More info
Binding of immune complexes (IC) to erythrocytes in vitro is the result of interaction between C3b sites on the IC, and complement receptors type I (CRI) expressed on primate erythrocytes. Recent evidence indicates that primate erythrocytes can also rapidly bind large, preformed IC in vivo. This study was undertaken to determine if the binding of IC to baboon erythrocytes in vivo is complement dependent and to examine the effect of complement depletion on IC clearance from the circulation. The results indicate that complement depletion in vivo reduced the binding of IC to erythrocytes. There was relatively little binding of IC to leukocytes in both the complement-depleted and complement-repleted condition. Thus, the majority of IC not bound to erythrocytes remained free in the plasma and, consequently, IC infusion during the complement-depleted state resulted in increased plasma IC concentrations. This was associated with a rapid disappearance of IC from the circulation. By contrast, in the normal or complement-repleted state, a large fraction of the IC became bound to erythrocytes during IC infusion, which resulted in lower plasma IC concentrations. Under these conditions, a more gradual rate of disappearance of IC from the circulation was observed. The relatively abrupt clearance of IC from the circulation in the complement-depleted state could not be accounted for by increased hepatic or splenic uptake. These data indicate that, in contrast to previous studies in nonprimates, complement depletion in primates results in accelerated removal of IC from the circulation. This suggests that factors such as hypocomplementemia and deficient expression of erythrocyte CRI, which are known to occur in certain IC-mediated diseases, may promote IC uptake by organs vulnerable to IC-mediated injury.