Red blood cell (RBC) aggregation is enhanced in the presence of ongoing inflammation, because of plasma protein effects, especially fibrinogen. Large RBC aggregates, in addition to being a marker of systemic inflammation, may hinder tissue perfusion and oxygenation. Gaucher disease, the most common lysosomal storage disorder, evinces many of the hallmarks of chronic inflammation. Manifestations of Gaucher disease which may be related to microvascular occlusion include avascular necrosis (AVN), bone crisis, and pulmonary hypertension. This study aims to determine whether increased RBC aggregation in non-splenectomized patients with Gaucher disease is due to Gaucher-related inflammation. The Cell Flow Properties Analyzer (CFA) monitors blood under conditions of different shear stress by creating varying pressure gradients. Blood from non-splenectomized patients with Gaucher disease showed only a slight correlation between aggregation parameters and fibrinogen levels, whereas blood from non-splenectomized patients treated with enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) showed marked correlation between aggregation parameters and fibrinogen, as in the control group. These results underscore the hypothesis that RBC aggregation in Gaucher disease is increased by (at least) two mechanisms: a fibrinogen-mediated inflammatory process and another non-inflammatory process that may be induced by elevated glucocerebroside levels in the RBC and/or inhibited by elevated plasma cerebroside levels.
- Gaucher disease
- Red blood cells aggregation