Sucrose density gradient analysis of erythrocyte membranes in hemolytic anemias

T. P. Flynn, Gerhard J Johnson, David W Allen

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Abstract

To investigate the membrane abnormalities that may play a pathophysiologic role in several hemolytic anemias we determined the density distribution on sucrose density gradients of human red blood cell (RBC) membranes from patients with these disorders, from normal controls, and from incubated normal RBC. We analyzed the fractions for membrane-adsorbed hemoglobin (Hb), globin, and nonglobin cytoplasmic proteins. The relationship between the cytoplasmic proteins adsorbed on the membranes and the specific gravity (SG) of the membranes was linear. An increase in SG of the entire membrane population was seen in Hb C disease due to adsorbed Hb. Subpopulations of membranes with increased SG due to adsorption of nonglobin protein were evident in the membranes from two splenectomized patients with hemolytic glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) variants. Dense membrane subpopulations found in RBC membranes from three splenectomized patients with Hb Koln were associated with adsorbed globin, while similar subpopulations in RBC membranes from three splenectomized patients with hereditary spherocytosis demonstrated increased SG due to adsorbed Hb. Splenectomized normals had no such abnormality in membrane density. Sucrose density gradients demonstrate that membrane bound cytoplasmic protein is characteristic of the RBC membranes in several hemolytic disorders. Additionally, gradients are useful for the isolation and further analysis of those subpopulations of RBC membranes with abnormal SG and exaggerated membrane protein abnormalities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-65
Number of pages7
JournalBlood
Volume57
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1981

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Flynn, T. P., Johnson, G. J., & Allen, D. W. (1981). Sucrose density gradient analysis of erythrocyte membranes in hemolytic anemias. Blood, 57(1), 59-65.