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Felder, Kathrin M.; Hoelzle, Katharina; Ritzmann, Mathias; Kilchling, Tim; Schiele, Daniela; Heinritzi, Karl; Groebel, Katrin; Hoelzle, Ludwig E. (2011): Hemotrophic Mycoplasmas Induce Programmed Cell Death in Red Blood Cells. In: Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry, No. 5: pp. 557-564


Hemotrophic mycoplasmas (HM) are uncultivable bacteria found on and in the red blood cells (RBCs). The main clinical sign of HM infections is the hemolytic anemia. However, anemia-inducing pathogenesis has not been totally clarified. In this work we used the splenectomized pig as animal model and Mycoplasma suis as a representative for hemotrophic mycoplasmas to study anemia pathogenesis. Eryptosis, i.e. programmed cell death of RBCs, is characterized by cell shrinkage, microvesiculation and phosphatidylserine (PS) exposure on the outer membrane. The eryptosis occurrence and its influence on anemia pathogenesis was observed over the time-course of M. suis infections in pigs using 3 M. suis isolates of differing virulence. All 3 isolates induced eryptosis, but with different characteristics. The occurrence of eryptosis could as well be confirmed in vitro: serum and plasma of an acutely ill pig induced PS exposure on erythrocytes drawn from healthy pigs. Since M. suis is able to induce eryptotic processes it is concluded that eryptosis is one anemia-inducing factor during M. suis infections and, therefore, plays a significant role in the pathogenesis of infectious anemia due to HM infection. Copyright (C) 2011 S. Karger AG, Basel