Appearance of an erythrocyte population with decreased deformability and hemoglobin content following sepsis

Michael R. Condon, Jiyoun E. Kim, Edwin A. Deitch, George W. Machiedo, Zoltan Spolarics

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59 Scopus citations


With the use of the cecal ligation and puncture model in mice, this study tested whether sepsis-induced decreased erythrocyte deformability is restricted to a subpopulation of cells. Erythrocyte subpopulations were isolated by centrifugal elutriation. Lineweaver-Burk conversion of deformability-response curves to shear stress was used to determine the shear stress at half-maximal cell elongation (KEI) and maximal cell elongation (EImax). Sepsis decreased erythrocyte deformability in whole blood. KEI values were elevated (2.7 vs. 2.1 Pa) and EImax values decreased (0.56 vs. 0.50) in sepsis compared with sham mice. KEI values for cells eluted at 7 ml/min (smallest and oldest cells) were similar; however, KEI values for cells eluted at 8 ml/min were greater in septic than sham animals (2.50 vs. 2.10). Younger and larger subpopulations of erythrocytes (eluted at 9, 10, and 11 ml/min) also showed a tendency of decreased deformability in sepsis. Mean corpuscular hemoglobin content was decreased in cells eluted at 7 and 8 ml/min in sepsis (4.5 and 10.2 pg) compared to sham (7.4 and 11.4 pg) mice. This study indicates that an erythrocyte subpopulation that represents 20% of circulating cells shows the most pronounced decrease in cell deformability during sepsis. Increased rigidity together with decreased corpuscular hemoglobin content in these cells may contribute to microcirculatory dysfunction and immune modulation during sepsis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number6 53-6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2003


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)

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