We have investigated the hemolytic mechanisms in a patient with acquired immune hemolytic anemia whose red cells appeared to be coated with IgA alone. The clinical course was similar to that of patients with hemolytic anemia mediated by warm-reacting IgG antibody. Splenic sequestration of red cells was demonstrated, and marked reduction of hemolysis occurred after corticosteroid therapy. Antibody was eluted from the patient's red cells and used to sensitize normal red cells in vitro. These sensitized red cells were not lysed by fresh autologous serum, nor did they fix detectable amounts of C3. However, red cells sensitized by eluted antibody were lysed by normal human peripheral blood monocytes in a system designed to demonstrate antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity. Monocyte-mediated hemolysis of sensitized red cells was inhibited by the addition of low concentrations of normal serum IgA to the system, but not by IgG. The ability of the eluate to induce monocyte-mediated hemolysis was abolished by its adsorption on Sepharose-bound anti-IgA, but not by preincubation with Sepharose-bound anti-IgG. In addition, normal human monocytes were demonstrated to ingest eluate-sensitized red cells. These data demonstrate an in vitro interaction of IgA-sensitized red cells with leukocytes and suggest a possible mechanism for the patient's hemolysis.

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