Immunohaematological investigations were carried out in 46 patients with erythrocyte autoantibodies associated with myelodysplastic syndromes. Eight patients had refractory anaemia, 17 refractory anaemia with ring sideroblasts, 11 refractory anaemia with excess of blasts, four chronic myelomonocytic leukaemia, five refractory anaemia with excess of blasts in transformation and one could not be classified. Standard agglutination direct antiglobulin tests showed that the red cells were most often coated with IgG and C3d, though increased amounts of IgM or IgA were also found in 15 of 35 cases (43%) when the more sensitive enzyme linked method was used. The IgG antibodies were predominantly of IgG1 subclass. Clinically important autoimmune haemolysis occurred in 15 patients, and was of "warm", "cold," and "mixed" types in seven, four, and four cases, respectively: it is important to recognise its presence in view of the good response to treatment. The increased incidence of erythrocyte autoantibodies in myelodysplastic syndromes is thought to be one manifestation of disturbed immune homeostasis.
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