The mean number of complement receptor 1 (CR1) molecules on erythrocytes differs between normal individuals within the range of 100-1000 molecules per cell. In some disease states such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus and malaria, erythrocyte CR1 levels are reduced and CR1 function may be impaired. Current methods for determining erythrocyte CR1 levels by flow cytometry require the use of freshly drawn blood samples because CR1 is lost from erythrocytes during storage. In order to facilitate field studies of associations between erythrocyte CR1 levels and disease, we have developed and validated an assay to quantify CR1 on both healthy and diseased erythrocytes that have been fixed in 5% formaldehyde or frozen in glycerol. These methods enable blood samples to be collected in areas lacking the facilities for flow cytometry and stored for later accurate quantification of CR1. Such procedures will be of particular benefit for future investigations of erythrocyte CR1 expression level and malaria susceptibility.
- Complement receptor 1
- Flow cytometry