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J Gen Physiol. 1970 Feb;55(2):208-19.

The erythrocyte ghost is a perfect osmometer.


The osmotic swelling of intact erythrocytes in hypotonic solutions was measured using microhematocrit tubes, Van Allen tubes, and a calibrated Coulter counter. In agreement with earlier workers the intact cells did not behave as perfect osmometers, the cells swelling less than predicted by the Boyle-van't Hoff law. Erythrocyte ghosts were prepared from fresh intact erythrocytes by one-step hemolysis in 0.25% NaCl at an extremely dilute concentration of cells and the membranes were sealed at 37 degrees . The ghosts were mixed with NaCl solutions of different osmolarities and the MCV (mean cell volume) of the shrunken cells immediately monitored by a calibrated Coulter counter. It was found that the MCV values of the shrunken ghosts were accurately predicted by the Boyle-van't Hoff law. These results indicate that these erythrocyte ghosts behaved as perfect osmometers.

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