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Sickle Cells Get Tripped Up by Sticky Ones, Brown University Study


6/26/2013 7:34:19 AM

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Using computer models, researchers have discovered it’s a sticky type of red blood cell that starts the blockage that leads to a “sickle cell crisis.” The models show that the rigid, crescent-shaped red blood cells that are the hallmark of sickle cell disease don’t cause these blockages on their own. Instead, softer, deformable red blood cells known as SS2 cells start the process by sticking to capillary walls. The rigid sickle-shaped cells then stack up behind the SS2s, like traffic behind a car wreck.

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