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Hereditary spherocytosis (HS) and hereditary pyropoikilocytosis (HPP, severe form of hereditary elliptocytosis) are unrelated red cell disorders caused by defects in distinct regions of the red cell cytoskeleton. The high predictive value of the eosin-5-maleimide (EMA)-binding test for the diagnosis of HS is because of its interaction with transmembrane proteins band 3, Rh protein, Rh glycoprotein and CD47, which are reduced on HS red cells. Our study was undertaken to determine why EMA-labelled HPP red cells were previously found to give much lower fluorescence readings than HS. Flow cytometry was used to determine the relative amounts of monoclonal antibodies bound to red cells from normal adults, HS and HPP groups. Confocal microscopy was used to visualise the overall staining pattern of the red cells with selected antibodies. In flow cytometry, HPP red cells gave lower antibody binding to the four EMA-reactive membrane proteins than HS red cells and bound less antibody to glycophorins A and C, and CD59. Confocal images of Rh protein and band 3 immunostaining revealed a greater number of HPP red cells having partial or no fluorescence than in HS and normal controls. Lesser amounts of EMA-reactive membrane proteins were detected in HPP than HS red cells, thus confirming their lower fluorescence readings in the EMA-binding test. The concomitant reduction in glycophorins A and C, and CD59 in HPP could have caused cellular contraction, resulting in poikilocytosis. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


M-J King, M A Jepson, A Guest, R Mushens. Detection of hereditary pyropoikilocytosis by the eosin-5-maleimide (EMA)-binding test is attributable to a marked reduction in EMA-reactive transmembrane proteins. International journal of laboratory hematology. 2011 Apr;33(2):205-11

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PMID: 21054813

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