A sickle cell crisis is a painful and dangerous condition that defies effective treatment but fortunately it usually terminates spontaneously and patients spend far more time crisis free than in its painful throes. This suggests that an unstable physiologic balance exists between steady state sickle cell disease (SCD) and the crisis state and if this is so a therapeutic nudge during a crisis may help to terminate it. Annexin V may be able to provide this push. The phosphatidylserine (PS) molecules normally appear on the surface of senescent erythrocytes where they are recognized by macrophages and rapidly removed so that normally only about 1% are present in the circulation but in SCD 30-40% are prematurely senescent and their removal is delayed. The PS+ sickle erythrocytes remaining in the circulation adhere to the endothelium and their exposed PS acts as a platform for the initiation of the coagulation cascade that is responsible for clot propagation. Annexin V's great affinity for PS allows it to bond to it forming a shield that blocks both of these actions suggesting that its therapeutic administration during a sickle crisis may be able to hasten its termination.
Kennedy, J. R. (2015). Attenuating a sickle cell crisis with annexin v. Medical Hypotheses, 84(5), 434–436. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mehy.2015.01.037