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Scand J Clin Lab Invest. 1993 May;53(3):239-46.

Ionophore A23187 reduces energy charge by enhanced ion pumping in suspended human erythrocytes.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Chemistry, University Hospital, University of Uppsala, Sweden.


Washed human erythrocytes were basically incubated in phosphate-buffered saline at 37 degrees C with different concentrations (1-5 mumol l-1) of the divalent cationophore A23187. This ionophore induced a decrease by about 75% of ATP content and energy charge (EC) and a concomitant increase in ADP and AMP contents in a dose-dependent fashion such that an inverse ATP/ADP relationship developed. EGTA at 1 mumol l-1 annihilated the effect of A23187 on energy status. When glucose was added to the basic incubation medium A23187 inclusion resulted in an elevated lactate production concomitantly with a partial restoration of EC. Introduction of Mg2+ to basic incubation medium containing glucose and the ionophore resulted in a sharp increase in lactate production with an energy state that was maintained at a control level. It is concluded that the low EC of erythrocytes obtained by this ionophore is the result of runaway ATPases dissociated from glycolysis. Since human erythrocytes are devoid of organelles other than the plasma membrane it is concluded that the ionophoric effect is exerted in the plasma membrane.

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