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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1993 May 14;1148(1):152-6.

The distribution of intracellular calcium chelator (fura-2) in a population of intact human red cells.

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  • 1Physiological Laboratory, Cambridge, UK.


Using quantitative fluorescence microscopy of red cells loaded non-disruptively with 1-2.5 mmol/l cells of fura-2, we examined the distribution of the incorporated free chelator among and within individual cells. Cytoplasmic hemoglobin quenched the effective fluorescence yield of fura-2 by a factor of about 100. All red cells were found to fluoresce upon excitation at 380 nm, and the fluorescence intensities they emitted at 510 nm were approximately +/- 20% about the mean intensity, indicating a fairly uniform distribution of incorporated chelator among the cells. Red cells loaded with these high levels of fura-2 retained their biconcave shape, and a comparison between their transmission images at 415 nm and their fura-2 fluorescence images suggests that the concentration of fura-2 was also uniform throughout the cytosol. These results validate assumptions made in earlier experiments with non-fluorescent incorporated Ca2+ chelators, and demonstrate the feasibility of fura-2 and Ca2+ imaging of intact red cells, despite considerable quenching of probe fluorescence by hemoglobin.

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