Changes in the concentration of ions during senescence of the human erythrocyte.


Department of Cellular and Structural Biology, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX 78284, U.S.A.


Flash frozen samples of normal human blood were cryosectioned and cryodried for electron probe x-ray microanalysis of the concentration of ions and elements in individual erythrocytes (RBCs). The data (expressed in mM/kg dry weight) demonstrated a systematic pattern of variation between the concentration of ions and elements in the RBCs. Specifically as K+ and Cl decreased in concentration, Ca2+ and sulfur increased in concentration. Phosphorous, Na+ and Mg2+ did not demonstrate a significant pattern of change. These findings are related to the dehydration and to the volume decrease that accompanies senescence of the RBC.