Blebbing, free Ca2+ and mitochondrial membrane potential preceding cell death in hepatocytes

John J. Lemasters, James Diguiseppi, Anna Liisa Nieminen, Brian Herman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

434 Scopus citations


Cell surface 'blebbing' is an early consequence of hypoxic and toxic injury to cells1-5. A rise in cytosolic free Ca2+ has been suggested as the stimulus for bleb formation3-5 and the final common pathway to irreversible cell injury6-9. Here, using digitized low-light video microscopy, we examine blebbing, cytosolic free Ca2+, mitochondrial membrane potential and loss of cell viability in individual cultured hepatocytes. Unexpectedly, we found that after 'chemical hypoxia' with cyanide and iodoacetate, cytosolic free Ca2+ does not change during bleb formation or before loss of cellular viability. Cell death was precipitated by a sudden breakdown of the plasma membrane permeability barrier, possibly caused by rupture of a cell surface bleb.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-81
Number of pages4
Issue number6099
StatePublished - Jan 1 1987

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