Measuring Erythrocyte Complement Receptor 1 Using Flow Cytometry

This article has been accepted and is currently in production


CR1 (CD35, Complement Receptor type 1 for C3b/C4b) is a high molecular weight membrane glycoprotein of about 200 kDa that controls complement activation, transports immune complexes, and participates in humoral and cellular immune responses. CR1 is present on the surface of many cell types, including erythrocytes, and exhibits polymorphisms in length, structure (Knops, or KN, blood group), and density. The average density of CR1 per erythrocyte (CR1/E) is 500 molecules per erythrocyte. This density varies from one individual to another (100–1,200 CR1/E) and from one erythrocyte to another in the same individual. We present here a robust flow cytometry method to measure the density of CR1/E, including in subjects expressing a low density, with the help of an amplifying immunostaining system. This method has enabled us to show the lowering of CR1 erythrocyte expression in diseases such as Alzheimer's disease (AD), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), AIDS, or malaria.