The initiation of hemodialysis using cuprophane membranes is followed by a rapid fall in the circulating neutrophil count. This neutropenia is caused by a transient sequestration of neutrophils in the lung due to homotypic aggregation, largely in response to generation of C5a by contact of plasma with the dialyzer. The transient nature of hemodialysis neutropenia is due to desensitization of neutrophils to stimulation by C5a, thus demonstrating desensitization in vivo. To examine the in vivo effects on surface phenotype of continuous exposure of neutrophils to C5a over 3 h, the surface expression of 22 antigens was examined by flow cytometry in patients undergoing dialysis. Neutropenia was prominent at 15 min and absent at 60 and 180 min of dialysis. CD10, CD11b, CD11c, CD13, CD18, CD35, CD45, CD66acde, and CD66b were upregulated at 15 min and remained upregulated at 180 min. CD61 and CD63 increased slightly at 15 min and returned to baseline by 180 min. CD16 and CD62L were down regulated at 15 min and normalized by 180 min. CD15s, CDw17, CD32, and CD44 were slightly down regulated at 15 min and then returned to baseline by 180 min. CD11a, CD15, CD24, CD31, and CDw65 did not change during dialysis. This study demonstrates the changes in surface phenotype of neutrophils during prolonged in vivo exposure to C5a over 3 h, during which time neutrophils become desensitized to subsequent stimulation by similar concentrations of C5a but maintain responsiveness to other chemotactic stimuli.
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