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Am J Hematol. 1997 Jul;55(3):121-8.

Membrane cation and anion transport activities in erythrocytes of hereditary spherocytosis: effects of different membrane protein defects.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University of Verona, Italy.


Hereditary spherocytosis (HS) is due to different membrane protein defects (i.e., deficiency of spectrin and ankyrin, band 3, or band 4.2). In order to gain new insight into the relationships between band 3 function and proteins associated with the cytoskeleton, we studied erythrocyte anion transport activity in HS characterized by different membrane protein defects. Anion transport activity was increased in HS due to partial band 4.2 deficiency or to band 4.2 absence, while in HS associated with deficiency of spectrin + ankyrin or band 3, the anion transport results were normal or decreased, respectively. Moreover, since HS erythrocytes are characterized by an increased Na and a decreased K, we studied the principal membrane cation transport pathways. Activity of the Na/K pump was increased in all HS studied, while no changes in Na/K/2Cl cotransport and Na/Li exchange were evident between control and HS as well as between forms of HS associated with different membrane protein defects. K/Cl cotransport activity was decreased in all HS studied compared to normal red cells. In all HS, passive membrane permeability to Na and K was increased compared to normal erythrocytes. The increased Na and the low K content can be attributed to the abnormal membrane permeability to cations, which is not related to a specific membrane protein defect.

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