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Biorheology. 1990;27(3-4):327-44.

Molecular basis of red cell membrane rheology. Part 1.

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Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C.


The biorheological properties and behavior of red blood cells (RBCs), as other types of cells, have a biochemical and molecular basis. The shape maintenance and deformability of RBCs depend on the structural and functional integrity of the membrane proteins. These proteins are composed of transmembrane proteins inserted in the lipid bilayer, the skeletal proteins forming a network lining the membrane endoface, and the linking proteins which link together the other two types of proteins to form a three-dimensional protein structure to effect the complex and intricate biorheological functions of the RBC. The application of molecular biological techniques has led to the establishment of the molecular structures of all major RBC membrane proteins and generated insights into the nature and energy of protein interactions in the membrane. Abnormalities or deficiencies of these proteins in hereditary disorders in humans and animals have offered opportunities to assess the rheological significance of each of these proteins and their interactions. Parallel molecular biological and biorheological studies on RBC membranes under a variety of conditions can provide the fundamental information required for theoretical modeling of RBC membrane rheology at the molecular level. Such interdisciplinary research will contribute to not only the elucidation of normal rheology of RBCs and other types of cells, but also the understanding of pathorheology of their disorders and the development of new methods of diagnosis and treatment.

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