In paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), infection, both viral and bacterial, disproportionate to the mild neutropenia seen in many such patients is responsible for significant morbidity. We report impaired granulocyte chemotaxis efficiency which may contribute to the problems induced by bacterial infections. PNH (but not normal) granulocytes, after exposure to very small concentrations of activated serum complement components, migrate poorly, as documented by their inhibited chemotaxis toward bacterial products or activated complement components in Boyden chambers. The granulocytes remain intact, excluding trypan blue, phagocytosing, and killing bacteria, despite this activated complement exposure. It is also suggested that this chemotactic defect may involve only a clone of cells, analogous to the clonal lysis of PNH erythrocytes; those few granulocytes capable of migration after exposure to activated complement contain normal quantities of leukocyte alkaline phosphatase (LAP), in contrast to the LAP deficiency of the overall PNH granulocyte population. Since bacterial infection may initiate or potentiate hemolysis, one of the major symptoms of the disease, these results could explain much of the morbidity of PNH.

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