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Blood. 1995 Jul 1;86(1):334-41.

Generation of normal human red cell volume, hemoglobin content, and membrane area distributions by "birth" or regulation?

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Physiological Laboratory, University of Cambridge, UK.


Using flow cytometry and osmotic lysis measurements, we document here the means and coefficients of variation of the following red cell (RBC) properties: hemoglobin (Hb) content, volume, Hb concentration, and relative lytic tonicity distributions in populations of normal human RBCs, before and after density fractionation. The distributions showed a pattern characterized by much larger coefficients of variation of the Hb content and volume distributions than of the Hb concentration and relative lytic tonicity distributions. From analysis of the factors that determine those RBC properties, the patterns were interpreted as reflecting previously unrecognized statistical proportionalities between cell osmolyte content, Hb content, and membrane area. The possible origin of these statistical links was analyzed by considering alternative models with and without the participation of regulatory processes during cell maturation. A model was shown to be feasible in which mature RBC variability with proportional volume, area, and Hb content arises solely from cell size variability at the last erythroid cell division.

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