Distribution of chloride permeabilities in normal human red cells

Julia E. Raftos*, Robert M. Bookchin, Virgilio L. Lew

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


1. The rate of dehydration of K+ permeabilized red cells is influenced by their Cl- permeability (P(Cl)). In instances of pathological K+ permeabilization, cell-to-cell differences in P(Cl) may determine which red cells dehydrate most. The present study was designed to investigate whether P(Cl) differed significantly among red cells from a single blood sample. 2. Previously available methods measure only the mean P(Cl) of red cell populations. We describe a 'profile migration' method in which dilute red cell suspensions in low-K+ media were permeabilized to K+ with a high concentration of valinomycin, rendering P(Cl) the main rate-limiting factor for cell dehydration. As the cells dehydrated, samples were processed to obtain full haemolysis curves at precise times. Variations in P(Cl) among cells would have appeared as progressive changes in the profile of their haemolysis curves, as the curves migrated towards lower tonicities. 3. Red cells from five normal volunteers showed no change in profile of the migrating haemolysis curves, suggesting that their P(Cl) distributions were fairly uniform. Quantitative analysis demonstrated that intercell variation in P(Cl) was less than 7.5%. 4. Results obtained with this technique were analysed using the Lew-Bookchin red cell model. The calculated P(Cl) was within the normal range described in earlier studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)773-777
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Physiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 1996
Externally publishedYes


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