Erythrocyte swelling and membrane hole formation in hypotonic media as studied by conductometry

A. Pribush, D. Meyerstein, L. Hatskelzon, V. Kozlov, I. Levi, N. Meyerstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Hypoosmotic swelling of erythrocytes and the formation of membrane holes were studied by measuring the dc conductance (G). In accordance with the theoretical predictions, these processes are manifested by a decrease in G followed by its increase. Thus, unlike the conventional osmotic fragility test, the proposed methodological approach allows investigations of both the kinetics of swelling and the erythrocyte fragility. It is shown that the initial rate of swelling and the equilibrium size of the cells are affected by the tonicity of a hypotonic solution and the membrane rheological properties. Because the rupture of biological membranes is a stochastic process, a time-dependent increase in the conductance follows an integral distribution function of the membrane lifetime. The main conclusion which stems from reported results is that information about rheological properties of red blood cell (RBC) membranes and the resistivity of RBCs to a certain osmotic shock may be extracted from conductance signals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-150
Number of pages12
JournalPhysiological Measurement
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2013


  • conductance
  • erythrocyte
  • hypoosmotic swelling
  • membrane lifetime


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