Research Article| Volume 76, ISSUE 4, P537-547, October 1970

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Filtration characteristics of sickle cells: Rates of alteration of filterability after deoxygenation and reoxygenation, and correlations with sickling and unsickling

  • Michael J. Messer
    From the Department of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine at Cleveland Metropolitan General Hospital Cleveland, Ohio, USA
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  • John W. Harris
    Reprint requests: John W. Harris, M.D., Cleveland Metropolitan General Hospital, 3395 Scranton Rd., Cleveland, Ohio 44109.
    From the Department of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine at Cleveland Metropolitan General Hospital Cleveland, Ohio, USA
    Search for articles by this author
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      With the use of a modified continuous-flow rapid-reaction apparatus to accomplish sudden deoxygenation and reoxygenation (31 msec.), the rates of alteration in cell filterability through Millipore filters and the rates of morphologic deformations were determined for various sickle cell disorders. Decreased filterability occurred within 0.12 seconds of sudden deoxygenation for cells from patients with homozygous sickle cell disease (S-S) and sickle-Thalassemia (S-Thal.); no change took place until 0.5 sec. for cells from patients with sickle cell-hemoglobin C disease, and no change took place within 5 seconds for cells from patients with sickle cell trait. Morphologic distortion (sickling and its early changes) could not be detected by light microscopy for several seconds after the time required for decreased filterability but major shape alterations had occurred by 4 seconds for cells with SS hemoglobin. The decrease in filterability was abolished for all cells within 0.12 sec. following sudden reoxygenation; reversal of the sickling distortions began promptly following reoxygenation but was not complete until many seconds after filterability had been re-established. The findings are discussed in terms of the behavior of S hemoglobin, the sickling phenomenon, and the pathophysiology of the sickling disorders.
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