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J Membr Biol. 1987;96(3):235-41.

K-permeabilized human red cells lose an alkaline, hypertonic fluid containing excess K over diffusible anions.


Experiments were performed to test specific predictions of an integrated red cell model developed by Lew and Bookchin [Lew, V.L., Bookchin, R.M. J. Membrane Biol. 92:57-74 (1986)], that K-permeabilized human red cells suspended in low-K media would dehydrate and lose an alkaline, hypertonic fluid with excess K over accompanying anions, and that cell dehydration would precede medium alkalinization. Red cells were suspended at about 30% hematocrit in an initially K-free Na-saline and permeabilized to K by the addition of valinomycin. The results showed that by the time a quasi-steady state had been reached the cells had lost the equivalent of a hypertonic fluid containing about 180 mM KCl (SCN) and 10 mM KOH, and that cell dehydration did precede alkalinization of the medium, in good agreement with the theoretical predictions. Since these experiments critically test the interaction between transport, pH and volume regulatory functions in the human red cell, the observed agreement validates the basic assumptions and structure of the integrated model. The functional implications of these results are discussed.

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