CD43 (also known as leukosialin and sialophorin) is a surface sialoglycoprotein expressed at high levels on most leukocytes implicated in adhesion, antiadhesion, and activation/proliferation mechanisms. We studied the expression of this molecule on the leukocytes of patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDSs) in an effort to detect acquired deficiencies of this molecule. We used immunofluorescence flow cytometry in analyzing whole blood and isolated neutrophils from 49 MDS patients, 33 men and 16 women aged 33 to 85 years (median, 75 years), and 18 healthy individuals aged 35 to 80 years (median, 72 years). According to French-American-British classification criteria, 13 patients had refractory anemia, 18 had refractory anemia with ringed sideroblasts, 9 had refractory anemia with excess of blasts, 4 had refractory anemia with excess of blasts in transformation to acute leukemia, and 5 had chronic myelomonocytic leukemia. We found decreased expression of CD43 on the neutrophils of these patients, and we correlated this finding with the activation status of these cells as it is denned by their phenotypes. We studied the expression of CD11b, CD18, CD35, CD67, CD69, CD44, and CD53 molecules known to be changed in the activated form of neutrophils. CD43 expression correlated positively with CD53 and CD44 expression and negatively with CD11b, CD18, CD35, CD67, and CD69 expression. Additionally, increased levels of soluble vascular cell adhesion molecules were detected in these patients, suggesting endothelial cell activation. In conclusion, we believe that the decreased expression of CD43 on the neutrophils of MDS patients is associated with activation of these cells and is probably due to cleavage of the molecule from the cell surface and that the same mechanism is possibly responsible for the parallel down-reeulation of CD44 and CD53.
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