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J Clin Invest. 1987 Feb;79(2):492-9.

Membrane skeletal alterations during in vivo mouse red cell aging. Increase in the band 4.1a:4.1b ratio.


We have examined membrane protein profiles for alterations during red blood cell aging. To obtain populations of in vivo-aged red cells, we maintained mice in a state of continuous erythropoietic suppression for up to 8 wk using serial hypertransfusion. The circulating t1/2 of red cells from mice which had been erythropoietically suppressed for 8 wk was less than 1 d compared with a t1/2 of 15 d for red cells from normal animals. The most obvious alteration in membrane proteins was an increase in the ratio of the membrane skeletal components 4.1a:4.1b from 0.3 for the normal red cell population to greater than 1 for these old cells. The 4.1a:4.1b ratio thus appears to be a useful index of red cell age. Analyses of the density profile of cells aged in the hypertransfused mice disclosed that these old cells had a density range similar to that of controls, suggesting that cell density does not increase significantly with red cell age in the mouse.

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